Dynamic Message Signs display travel times on I-476/I-276 in Montgomery County

June 20, 2011

Contact: Mimi Doyle, Public Involvement Specialist
Public Information
610-239-4117

Pa. Turnpike uses Technology to Keep Travelers Informed during Construction

Dynamic Message Signs display travel times on I-476/I-276 in Montgomery County

 The Pennsylvania Turnpike recently implemented a unique system to keep travelers informed of work-zone travel conditions along the section of the Northeastern Extension (Interstate 476) now being rebuilt and widened from four to six lanes. The commission activated multiple dynamic message signs (DMS) to post travel times on or near Interstates 476 and 276 as part of its three-year, $151-million improvement project.

“These message signs provide real-time information to help motorists make informed travel decisions and avoid or minimize delays,” said Louis L. Cortelazzi, the commission’s coordinator of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). “We’ve deployed 16 signs in all, including six in the work-zone itself and 10 signs strategically located outside the work area on connecting roadways.”

The digital messages span two screens, each with three lines, to inform motorists of the travel time to a certain endpoint. Screen one displays “Time To” and the destination (e.g. “I-476/I-276” or Exit #31”) followed by “From” - “MP” (milepost) and “# of MIN.”

“With heavy traffic volumes in the corridor every day, it’s critical that we actively communicate conditions to customers as they approach the work zone so that they can decide which route to take,” Cortelazzi said. The section of I-476 between Mid County and the Lansdale Exit (# 31) is the heaviest-traveled, four-lane stretch of Turnpike in the state, carrying more than 65,500 vehicles a day.

The message signs will remain in place until the completion of the project in late 2013. Travel times and other related messages about incidents and delays will be displayed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, higher priority messages will be displayed in the event of a major incident, dangerous weather, AMBER alerts or other emergencies.

The widening project — funded wholly by toll revenues without any tax dollars — is being built by Walsh Construction Co. of Canonsburg, Pa. and involves removing all original pavement and sub-base and replacing it with an entirely new roadway. The work area includes nearly six miles of roadway and bridge reconstruction, starting approximately two-tenths of a mile north of the Mid-County Interchange to just south of Berks Road, encompassing Plymouth, Whitpain and Worcester townships in Montgomery County.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is committed to distributing complete, accurate and consistent travel information and providing exceptional customer service. Visit the PA Turnpike website at www.paturnpike.com for project updates. Be in the know before you go and call 866.976 TRIP (866.976.8747).

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