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Belgrade traffic signal causes confusion for some, safety for many

GCSO, residents say light is 'well-needed,' but some don't understand its turning rules
Posted at 3:33 AM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 05:33:55-05

A dangerous intersection in Belgrade recently got a safety upgrade, but for some, it’s causing confusion.

For many living in Belgrade, they are a series of traffic lights that are well-needed.

But, if you haven’t seen them yet, driving through them has left a few scratching their heads.

“It’s a little bit confusing," says Deputy Nathan Kamerman.

We all know the rules.

Red means stop, green means go and you can turn right on a red light — if you do it safely.

At the intersection of Frontage Road and Valley Spur Road just east of Belgrade, these new sets of lights enforce what deputies say are rules that can save lives.

“That’s the whole goal of putting that in there is to eliminate the risk," Kamerman says.

Judging by the number of fatality markers near the crossing, deputies, along with longtime Belgrade local Terrie Volkman, say it needed it.

“I’ve lived here for about 35 years," Volkman says. "I think it helps. There’s been accidents there and it’s nice.”

But then came a different problem: confusion.

“Because it is legal to take a right turn in Montana at a red light, the confusion’s coming in that you can’t go through the red light to get to the next red light to take a right," Kamerman says.

“Kind of parked way back under the interstate," Volkman says. "I was kind of like, I don’t know why she’s parked back there for.”

Just trying to drive through the intersection, you can tell that the lights are there for a reason, but, as Kamerman said, it is a little confusing.

We have a red light that points forward instead of right and, according to the sheriff’s department, this is the one red light in town that you can’t make a right turn.

“The difference being there really is no difference between them," Kamerman says.

Deputies say it takes a bit of patience; this is the one place where right turn on red doesn’t apply.

Something Volkman agrees with.

“You gotta be cautious about any stop lights and stuff, especially since it’s been there without any light," Volkman says. "People kind of think, oh, they just can go through it, too, but there’s a light now so it’s nice.”

Deputies say MDT is in charge of this intersection and more questions about it can be relayed to them, if you have them.