Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Testing… testing one, two

By Craig Smiley

If you have traveled through the Canyon Park area recently, you may have noticed some changes to northbound Interstate 405. It’s all related to our new project, which we mentioned back in January, to add general purpose capacity to northbound I-405 between State Route 527 and I-5.

With signs installed, testing of our new I-405 peak-use shoulder lane begins this week.

Since then, work on the I-405 Northbound Peak-Use Shoulder Lane Project has been progressing. Crews recently finished installing four sets of electronic signs that, when the project is complete, will indicate when the shoulder lane is open to drivers and display messages about traffic conditions ahead.

Now it’s time to start testing.

This is only a test
Starting as soon as Wednesday, March 29, the signs will start displaying symbols such as different colored lines and shapes, and several test messages. These test messages will run until the lane is ready to open for use by traffic later this spring.  As this will be the first dynamic peak-use shoulder lane in the state, we are not only testing the signs individually to make sure they work but are also testing all the signs together to make sure the system will operate as planned once we open the lane.

Once the lane is fully operational, here’s what you will see on the signs over the peak-use shoulder:

Symbols on the signs over the peak-use shoulder.

  • A green arrow will indicate when the lane is open to traffic
  • A red “X” will indicate the lane is closed
  • Yellow arrows will indicate when drivers should start to merge out of the lane or use extra caution because of an incident ahead
An additional sign mounted on the side of the signpost may display information about traffic conditions, such as:
  • Shoulder Open 
  • Shoulder Closed 
  • Shoulder Blocked 
  • Shoulder Work Ahead 
  • Incident in Shoulder Ahead 
  • Slow Traffic Ahead 
What if there’s a crash?
Some of you have been asking what happens in the event of a crash. We have worked with our partners at the Washington State Patrol to develop emergency protocols. As with all highway operations, our Traffic Management Center will be actively monitoring the lane. If there is a collision or emergency, we will be able to close the lane to allow emergency services to respond. There will also be four paved emergency pullouts in the area of the peak-use shoulder lane.

Stay tuned for more information about the exact opening date for the new peak-use shoulder lane, which is on track for completion this spring.

1 comment:

Jeff Lykken said...

This shoulder lane project is one of the dumbest projects that WSDOT has attempted in a long time. This project is just another way WSDOT is deceiving the public into thinking they are trying to reduce congestion. If WSDOT really wanted to reduce congestion they would add a real lane, a general purpose lane! Not a worthless shoulder lane. All this is going to do is to keep the congestion going, which is what the extortion toll lanes have been doing all long; create congestion! The extortion toll lanes have been the biggest mistake in transportation history and the biggest ripoff of the public in recent memory!!! We would all be better off of the extortion toll lanes were suspended ASAP and WSDOT added the additional 2 general purpose lanes in each direction as we were originally promised in the 2001 master plan. WSDOT continues with there constant propaganda and there lies in regard to these failed extortion toll lanes. Hopefully the extortion toll lanes will be going away in September and we can get traffic moving again.

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