A widening project eventually will occur at 51st Street and Lewis Avenue in conjunction with the I-44 widening project. However, no timetable has been announced for this section of the project, so congestion and other problems likely will persist for some time. Southbound traffic is the only direction with a left-turn signal, and it only operates from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, the same hours that the northbound no-left-turn sign is open. Both directions of 51st Street could benefit from a left-turn signal, as there are many near misses when motorists turn left, or the traffic is heavy enough that only one motorist turning left can make it through on a light cycle (note the cars turning left on a red light). A left-turn signal for 51st Street made a brief appearance in the fall of 1981. This configuration had two signals with four lights apiece, and each direction on 51st Street went one at a time. The signals had straight and left green arrows on the left signal and straight and green right-turn arrows on the right signal, so only one direction went at a given time. Lewis Avenue continued with its regular cycle. The signals were removed by winter, and the present signals were installed. The small sign on the westbound mast arm warns motorists that 51st Street ends a half mile west of Lewis Avenue (at Utica Avenue), at which point it becomes the eastbound I-44 frontage road. In addition to the 51st Street intersection, the Lewis Avenue bridge and westbound I-44 frontage road will be improved as part of the project. Photo taken October 1985.
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