January 06, 2009
MONTPELIER – The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) this winter will use newly installed winter-weather technology along Interstate 89 between Williston and Royalton to help alert motorists to changing weather and road conditions.
Newly installed sensors and cameras allow VTrans to instantly monitor not only snowfall and visibility conditions at known trouble spots along I-89, but also monitor “real time” data about roadway temperatures, humidity and wind conditions that will help road crews know when the road surface begins to ice over.
The instant information not only will aid road crews in knowing when to target certain areas, but also will allow VTrans to activate a series of new electronic roadside message boards to alert motorists about the changing road conditions ahead. Motorists who have not yet left their office or home will also be able to access the information over the Internet by visiting www.511vt.com before they get behind the wheel.
“We have placed 12 new roadside message boards in strategic locations along I-89 that will convey information to motorists in real time,” said VTrans Secretary David Dill. “We not only will use them to display speed and weather advisories, but when a crash occurs we can let drivers know that they face delays ahead.”
The new equipment even tracks vehicle speed so VTrans can monitor how traffic is behaving, which is a tell-tail sign of road conditions. Understanding traffic behavior is key to knowing how well snow removal efforts are working.
“This new information will help our winter maintenance efforts become more efficient,” Dill said. “The data will let us know how well we are doing, as well as help us target our resources. The information also will aid in controlling costs because it will take some of the guess work out of where and when we deploy not only manpower but salt and sand.”
Prior to this winter, VTrans installed Road Weather Information Stations along I-89 in Brookfield and Williston. This year, thanks to a $300,000 federal grant, new stations were established in Royalton, Berlin and Bolton Flats. Twelve new electronic message boards were also purchased and strategically placed along I-89. Combined, the information gathering stations and the message boards create a high tech Interstate corridor that spans 65 miles.
“These tools help make our roadways safer,” Dill said. “The overall goal is to establish some 50 stations statewide over the next decade.”
Prior to this winter, Weather Information Stations also were established at the Rutland Airport as well as along Route 4 in both Fair Haven and Mendon. New stations this fall were built to monitor known trouble spots along Route 9 in Woodford and Route 7 in Brandon. The locations along Routes 4, 7 and 9, however, do not contain roadside message boards.
Source: Agency of Transportation
Last Updated at: January 06, 2009 09:10:37