December 02, 2015 - 6:30 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Highway drivers will start seeing variable speed signs later this winter as the Ministry of Transportation begins installing them this week, though they won't be functioning until early in the new year.
The pilot project, which is currently in its testing phase, will include signs on sections of the Trans-Canada, Sea to Sky and the Coquihalla Highways. The system is expected to start working by early 2016.
The speed on the signs will change to reflect driving conditions. Overhead messages will inform drivers to be aware of changing weather conditions when entering a variable speed zone.
Pavement and visibility sensors will be included to read extreme cold, freezing rain, heavy snowfall and extensive traffic. Based on what data the sensors receive, the sign will change the speed limit.
“As part of our Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review, we looked at how we could help reduce crashes related to bad weather conditions. One of the ideas was to introduce new digital variable speed limit signs in areas where the weather can change quickly and sometimes catch drivers off guard,” Minister Todd Stone says. “The electronic signs will adjust the speed limit to let drivers know what speed they should be travelling during winter weather conditions, to help them reach their destination safe and sound."
Crews are working to install 18 signs along Highway 1 from Perry River to Revelstoke. Thirteen signs from Portia Interchange to the former toll plaza on Highway 5 are going up and 16 will be erected between Squamish to Function Junction on the Sea to Sky Highway.
Cost of installing and running the project is estimated around $12.5 million and is part of the ministry’s Road Side Safety program.
The project was announced as part of the B.C. on the Move plan released March 2015.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015