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Interstate 95 to see $74 million in highway technology improvements

One of the nation’s largest technology initiatives aimed at curbing traffic and pollution is coming to Philadelphia, according to a report from Stateline.org. And we have plenty of traffic on I-95, which is said to handle more than 120,000 vehicles per day — as if that number had any meaning to you whatsoever. The Pennsylvania […]

Ugh, traffic. (Photo by Flickr user joiseyshowaa, used under a Creative Commons license)

traffic
One of the nation’s largest technology initiatives aimed at curbing traffic and pollution is coming to Philadelphia, according to a report from Stateline.org.
And we have plenty of traffic on I-95, which is said to handle more than 120,000 vehicles per day — as if that number had any meaning to you whatsoever.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, or PennDOT to friends, is gearing up for a $74 million undertaking that would equip 72 miles of I-95 corridor in and around Philly with intelligent transportation system installations.
The project is part of more than $257 million in cash from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which PennDOT plans to spend in Philadelphia’s five-county region, according to a department press release.
At least 22 states have requested federal funds for making their roads “smarter” by installing traffic cameras, creating express toll lanes, improving traffic signals and alerting drivers about accidents or delays ahead, as Stateline reported — all measures that are said to minimize traffic delays, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Last week, the Obama administration announced that another $1.5 billion in stimulus money could be spent on “innovative” road projects.
PennDOT’s plan will add 59 closed-circuit surveillance cameras to its network of 175 that already feed into a regional traffic control center in King of Prussia, which is manned 24 hours a day. Technicians there use the cameras to spot accidents or delays and disptach appropriate help to speed up traffic recovery.
PennDOT spokesman Charles Metzger says every five minutes of traffic disruption causes at least a half hour of delays.
The region will also get 39 new electronic signs that can display travel times, accident and emergency alerts and other messages you may or may not read. Tens of vehicle sensors and travel-time detectors are also being added and are scheduled to be finished by the year’s end. The boards, aided by these new sensors, are meant to alert motorists to delays and suggest alternate routes.
These highway technology improvements are lauded for putting more funds directly into the economy, by way of worker salaries. Just 20 percent of money for more traditional highway projects, like road paving or bridge repair, goes to payroll, according to a January analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation. That figure is nearer to 50 percent for tech projects.
That’s not the only traffic project the feds are funding around here.
Montgomery County officials are using at least $14 million in stimulus cash to add interchange ramps near Henderson Road in Upper Merion, as KYW reported earlier this year.

Companies: PennDOT
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