VDOT News - Salem
Jason Bond 540-387-5493
Nov. 29, 2016
VDOT LAUNCHES NEW VARIABLE SPEED LIMIT ON INTERSTATE 77 IN CARROLL COUNTY, VIRGINIA
SALEM – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is now operating new signs on Interstate 77 in Carroll County, Virginia, between mile markers 0 and 15 that allow the speed limit on Fancy Gap Mountain to be lowered below 65 mph when weather conditions reduce visibility.
The new variable speed limit is a part of an Active Traffic Safety Management System (ATSMS) that includes a network of traffic cameras, weather/visibility detection stations and 76 signs of various types to alert drivers to slow down when visibility is reduced.
VDOT operates the variable speed limit signs out of its traffic operations center in Salem and will lower the speed limit when visibility falls to 650 feet or less. Drivers should be aware there may be times when fog is present and advisories will be issued without a reduction in speed.
“We have installed new technology to communicate to the public, but we still need drivers to change their behavior and drive to those conditions,” says Chris McDonald, VDOT’s southwest regional operations director. “Complying with the reduced speed limit is key as conditions will still occur that create hazards for drivers.”
The lower the visibility then the lower the speed limit will be reduced to allow drivers more stopping distance. Based on the conditions, motorists may see speed limits between 65 mph and 30 mph.
“Variable speed limits are in place in other parts of the nation, but what makes this system unique is that we are able to scale the speed limit in relation to real-time conditions” explained McDonald.
In February 2014, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a $7.5 million contract to G4S Technology, Inc. from Springfield, to design and build the ATSMS.
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