ROAD SAFETY: Va. aims at making I-77 a safer stretch of road

Governor announces route will receive a system of electronic signs, cameras

Safety News February 25, 2014
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Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will soon begin to build a system of electronic signs, cameras and other technology that will improve safety on I-77 in the Fancy Gap area of Carroll County. 

 

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) awarded a $7.5 million contract to G4S Technology Inc. from Springfield to design and build an Active Traffic and Safety Management System (ATSMS) for a 12-mile segment of I-77, a mountainous section in Fancy Gap.

 

 “VDOT is using technology to save lives on a section of I-77 that has a higher-than-average traffic crash rate related to fog or wind,” said McAuliffe. “This project will help drivers reach their destination safely by keeping them informed of road and weather conditions. The use of technology in transportation today is improving the safety and efficiency of our transportation network.”

 

The I-77 Fancy Gap ATSMS includes numerous improvements:

 

  • Infrastructure to support the establishment of variable speed limits based on weather and traffic conditions;
  • A network of electronic message boards to keep drivers informed of changing traffic and weather conditions;
  • Additional traffic cameras that will allow complete surveillance of the corridor by VDOT’s traffic-operations center, which provides real-time information to drivers through the 511 Virginia system; and
  • Additional detection stations to enhance weather-monitoring capabilities.

 

Work on the project is expected to begin this spring with construction completed in summer 2015. VDOT has contracted with American Electric Power to complete the electrical infrastructure needed for these improvements.

 

Keeping drivers informed of road and weather conditions is a key component of the ATSMS project. Dynamic Message Signs will communicate information received by the operations center from the visibility detection sensors, traffic cameras and traffic-detection sensors. All of these systems aggregate atmospheric and roadway-surface-condition information as well as traffic speed and volumes. VDOT will be responsible for operating and maintaining the system.

 

Throughout Virginia VDOT is improving corridor operations with similar ATSMS projects. Other projects are in northern Virginia on I-66 and on I-64 along Afton Mountain.

 

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