Ramp meters are coming to Spokane.
Long used to regulate traffic flow in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, the Spokane area’s first ramp meter will become operational on April 9th. The meter is designed to alleviate backups and collisions on US 195 at the onramp of eastbound I-90.
Currently, drivers traveling north on US 195 are able to merge onto I-90 eastbound which creates backups on both US 195 and eastbound I-90. The ramp meter will regulate the flow of traffic entering I-90 and decrease congestion in the right lane of eastbound I-90 as drivers try to merge from US 195.
|Spokane’s first highway ramp meter will be activated on the morning of April 9th.|
So how will it work? Drivers will see the ramp meter go live at 6:30 a.m. on April 9th. Metering will continue through the morning peak traffic window, ending at about 9 a.m. During the afternoon commute, the ramp meter will be activated at 2:00 p.m. and continue through 6 p.m.
Drivers will see a sign flashing “Ramp Metered Ahead When Flashing.” When flashing, drivers will form two lanes leading up to the ramp meter. Drivers pull forward to the white line or stop bar to trigger the ramp meter. If the light is red for your lane, stop at the white line. When it turns green, accelerate and merge onto I-90. The ramp meter will only allow one vehicle per green light.
|The new ramp meter in Spokane is designed to alleviate backups and collisions on US 195 at the onramp of eastbound I-90.|
While the ramp meter should reduce congestion on eastbound I-90 and limit collisions at the merge point, ramp metering can produce delays. We tested several drive times from the intersection of 16th Avenue and Thorpe Road on US 195 to 3rd and Walnut and without the ramp meter during peak traffic, travel times were approximately the same using alternate routes like 16th Avenue to Sunset Boulevard and Inland Empire Way, or US 195. With the ramp meter, we estimate that using US 195 to I-90 will take an additional 2 minutes of travel time.
|Crews installing Spokane’s first ramp meter, which will be activated on April 9th.|
Like anything new, we expect that the ramp meter will take some getting used to. But ramp meters are proven to reduce collisions and reduce backups on the mainline highway. So please familiarize yourself with how it operates, because after this one goes live, five more are set to be installed and operational in 2020.