- J.P. Gillach
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Office of Communications
1500 County Rd B2 West
Roseville, MN 55113
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Minnesota’s Smart Lanes go live July 29
ROSEVILLE, Minn. – Motorists will receive electronic driving recommendations over traffic lanes when advisory speed limits are activated Thursday, July 29 on Interstate 35W between Bloomington and Burnsville. The variable speed limits, part of a real-time system called Smart Lanes, will be posted on electronic signs over traffic lanes during incidents or when weather and road conditions warrant slower speeds.
“This real-time information will help motorists make choices about the lane they are driving in. This first-in-the-nation use of Smart Lanes will increase safety and reduce congestion by keeping traffic flowing smoothly,” said Tom Sorel, Mn/DOT Commissioner.
Last year, Mn/DOT installed structures and digital signs over the lanes on I-35W. The agency has been using the signs, which illuminate during a traffic incident, to post a red “X” when a lane is closed due to a traffic crash, a yellow arrow to indicate motorists should merge and a diamond to designate the MnPASS Express Lanes. The latest component of advisory speed limits has been used successfully in Europe to manage traffic congestion and reduce crashes on busy roads. Washington State Department of Transportation will activate similar signs in late summer, 2010. Mn/DOT first used electronic signs to inform motorists of road conditions when it installed signs near the Lowry Hill tunnel in Minneapolis many years ago.
The easy-to-understand signs on I-35W are posted every half mile and will cover all lanes on both directions of the 10-mile section of freeway when Minnesota’s first Smart Lanes are fully activated. The signs are part of the I-35W congestion reducing efforts under the Urban Partnership Agreement between the state and federal governments.
More Smart Lanes will open on I-94 between St. Paul and Minneapolis by fall, 2011.
“This is the next generation of real-time information for motorists,” said Scott McBride, metro area district engineer. “The technology saves money by allowing us to better use existing road space, while improving safety and creating more reliable travel times.”
More information on Smart Lanes can found at dot.state.mn.us/smartlanes.