The Michigan Department of Transportation is piloting new “smart highway” technology on I-75 in Genesee County. Traffic sensors were recently installed on southbound I-75 from I-475 south to I-69 to help determine traffic backups on I-75.
MDOT will use the sensors, along with traffic cameras and message boards, to alert motorists to traffic backups. Real-time information about congestion will be posted on the message boards, as well as information suggesting I-475 as an alternate route during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
“Smart highways are interactive and automatically adapt to changing traffic situations,” said Linda Burchell, MDOT Davison Transportation Service Center manager. “The travel times and alternate route info displayed on the electronic message signs should help I-75 motorists avoid lengthy delays.”
In addition to traffic sensors, a portable queue warning system will be used to help motorists save time. This system moves with construction work and, if traffic begins to back up, will detect the congestion and display a real-time message on an electronic traffic sign located about 3 miles in advance of the work zone. After the Memorial Day holiday, messages will be posted for southbound I-75 motorists in Genesee County suggesting I-475 as an alternate route to avoid delays.
“With limited funding to add new lanes, it is essential that we use new innovations to keep traffic flowing with the system we currently have,” said Burchell. “Fewer backups mean safer highways, and smart highways help drivers avoid traffic accidents by responding to changing circumstances before unforeseen events occur.”
To keep an eye on traffic flow, planners will rely on a network of cameras, in-road sensors, and above-road detectors.
“Our goal is to reduce backups, improve traffic flow, decrease delays and help drivers avoid collisions,” said Keith Brown, MDOT engineer. “We will deliver real-time traffic information that motorists can rely on to get around.”
After Memorial Day, MDOT will resume work to resurface I-75 from the Oakland/Genesee county line to the north junction with I-475, including repairs on seven bridges. Traffic shifts and lane closures will be in effect on I-75 in both directions. To limit the impact on traffic, work is scheduled to take place at night. MDOT reminds motorists that choosing an alternate route may require driving additional miles, but could save you time overall by avoiding expected delays. Motorists are encouraged to use I-475 as an alternate route to avoid heavy traffic through Genesee County, which is expected to last through November.