The system is designed to ease congestion on this major highway.
Annapolis, Md (KM) The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration says full color ramp metering will go into operation on Interstate 270 on Wednesday. Project consultant Stephen McVeigh says the system has been installed on the 23 ramps leading to southbound I-270 in Frederick and Montgomery Counties.
“It tries to eliminate the choke points on the on ramps,” says McVeigh.
The system had been on flashing yellow for about a month, says SHA.
McVeigh says motorists approaching a southbound ramp will see a warning sign with flashing beacons urging them to slow down and be prepared to stop. They will come upon a line of vehicles along the ramp. A green light from a traffic signal at the bottom of the ramp will allow the vehicle in front to enter I-270. But the other cars will need to wait their turns for the light to turn from red to green and allow them to enter the highway.
“So the hope is that by metering the traffic, the traffic on the main line will stay a constant speed, and the traffic coming from the ramps will be able to merge seamlessly into it,” says McVeigh.
SHA says this system is expected to reduce congestion and save commuters about 30-minutes during their morning commutes down I-270 between Frederick and the Capital Beltway.
McVeigh says it could also cut down on vehicle accidents, when some vehicles move too soon on to I-270 and end up in a crash. “Safety is the top priority for SHA,” he says. “And anything that can help with that we’re all for.”
The ramp metering system is expected to be operating at 4:00 AM, and continue through 11:00 PM on a daily basis. When it’s not in operation, SHA says the traffic beacons and the traffic signals will be dark.
McVeigh says the SHA plans to install ramp metering on the 22 northbound ramps of I-270 next year, weather permitting. “Northbound will be different because its rush hour is more in the afternoon and evening times,” he says.
By Kevin McManus