Courtesy of NDOT
Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 | 2 a.m.
The way the Nevada Department of Transportation alerts freeway motorists is receiving a high-tech upgrade.
NDOT began installing the first of 52 Active Traffic Management (ATM) signs on a portion of U.S. 95 last week. The installations will continue through July 2019 and will feature intermittent lane closures.
The signs are part of the almost $1 billion Project Neon, which is a 3.7-mile-long widening of Interstate 15 from the U.S. 95 interchange to Sahara Avenue.
The steel gantry-supported ATM signs will initially go up in groups of three, in areas surrounding the busiest traffic area in town.
“We are initially going to focus upon the Spaghetti Bowl, approaching the Project Neon construction work zone in order to minimize commuter delays,” NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said. “The initial three signs will be erected along northbound U.S. Highway 95 by early June; they should be operational by late September.”
The following three signs will go up along southbound Interstate 15. Those will be followed by the next trio of ATM signs being built along southbound U.S. 95.
The ATM signs will be placed near D Street, Washington Avenue, Bonanza Road, Desert Inn Road, Spring Mountain Road, and Twain Avenue on Interstate 15 and at Rancho Drive, Avalon Circle, Valley View Boulevard, Seventh Street, Casino Center Drive and City Parkway on U.S. 95.
The ATM signs will stretch to Silverado Ranch Boulevard on Interstate 15 by the completion of Project Neon.
The largest signs resemble auxiliary scoreboards found in ballparks and stadiums, measuring 13-feet-tall by 77-feet-wide, according to Illia.
“The full-color dynamic message signs provide next-generation, real-time information to motorists about detours, accidents and traffic restrictions,” Illia said. “They are far more sophisticated than the existing dynamic signage, showing travel times to freeway exits; also, they can be programmed to inform motorists of lane closures and blockages that occur with traffic accidents or construction.
“Signs will show the status of every lane as motorists approach the Spaghetti Bowl,” he said.
In addition to the large video screens above the highways, new digital speed-limit signs will go up on the sides of the freeway next to most ATM signs. The speed-limit signs will give NDOT the ability to modify speed limits in an instant if a crash or a road hazard occurs.
“We are able to change these speed-limit (signs) dynamically if we want to, or need to,” Illia said.
The most important aspect of new high-tech signage is increased safety, especially for out-of-town drivers, Illia said
“U.S. agencies and counties who have invested in ATM systems are realizing significant reduction in primary and secondary crashes, with a minimization of injuries, fatalities, delays and congestion,” he said. “The greatest benefit is crash reductions, especially on weekends. This is attributable this to ‘non-commuter’ drivers who may not be familiar with the area, which is especially relevant in Las Vegas where large numbers of tourists drive the I-15 corridor daily.”
Check the Project Neon website or Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages (@NDOTProjectNeon) for up-to-date information. There is also a hotline available in both English and Spanish at: 702-293-NEON (6366).