SHA says it’s a way to help alleviate traffic congestion.
Baltimore, Md (KM) A system is being installed on Interstate 270 to help reduce traffic congestion. It’s called the Innovative Congestion Management System. It’s “made up of a bunch of sensors, some on mainline I-270, and some that are on the ramp. There’s a traffic signal that’s actually on the ramp. And there’s also a pre-warning sign just to let people know there’s a signal ahead,” says David Phillips, ICM (Innovative Congestion Management Project) Design Project Manager with the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration.
Phillips says the sensors on the highway indicate whether there is a gap in the traffic on I-270, which will allow motorists on the ramp to enter the highway safely. If there is no gap, the traffic signal will stop traffic until it’s safe tor drivers to enter.
He says right now, driver’s entering I-270 don’t know what’s up ahead. “If you harmonize, and put these artificial gaps and let only one vehicle go at a time down that ramp, we find it allows that vehicle to more easily get into I-270,” says Phillips.
The system will be tried on at the northbound Maryland 118 ramp in Germantown which leads into southbound I-270. Phillips says it will be activated Wednesday morning with a flashing yellow light, and it will be fully activated on June 23rd. “We’re going to test it for about a week. Then we’re going to shut it down We’re going assess the results that we got. And then later this year, barring no issues, we’re going to turn all of the southbound ramp metering on,” he says.
Then the system will be installed in the northbound lanes. “We’re then going to continue work on our northbound side. We’ve got a lot of those locations already under construction now. We’ve got a few that we have to finalize. And then later this year, and beginning of next year, we’ll be turning on the northbound ramp metering,” says Phillips.
He says I-270 was chosen for this project because it’s one of the most congested highways in Maryland. “We’ve heard some horror stories of people having to get up, really, really, really early and drive in and things of that nature,” says Phillips. “And so we wanted to try to make it better to reduce that congestion.”
Phillips says it’s been tried in other states where it’s been successful.
These ramp meters will be installed at I-270 ramps in both Montgomery and Frederick Counties.
By Kevin McManus