PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – PennDOT is taking steps that it says will improve your journey on the Schuylkill Expressway. New, digital, variable speed limit signs have been activated along the corridor between Philly and King of Prussia. Eyewitness News was at the Park and Ride in Conshohocken where PennDOT switched on 72 variable speed limit signs and nine queue warning signs. The activation begins a testing period for the technology that will run through May 10.
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PennDOT secretary Yassmin Gramian said in a press release on Thursday that the new speed limit signs will help to reduce the congestion on the corridor that serves over 130,000 drivers every day.
“These devices will help reduce congestion and greatly improve safety by warning drivers of changing conditions based on real-time expressway, traffic and weather events,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said in the release. “This is one of the ways we are using operational strategies and technologies to actively manage travel and traffic flow along this critical corridor.”READ MORE: Multiple Faiths Joining Forces To Combat Philadelphia's Rising Gun Violence
The initial speed limits are set to be fixed at 55 mph in Montgomery County and 50 mph in the city to match the existing static speed limit signs in those areas. After the testing period ends on May 10, PennDOT says that existing static speed limit signs will be removed and the posted speed limits will begin to change in the corridor. The speed limits will vary between 35 mph and 55 mph based on real-time traffic and conditions.
The new variable speed limit signs are intended to reduce crashes of which PennDOT data says there were 2,580 reportable crashes in the area from 2015 through 2019. They agency says that variable speed limit deployments in other states have reduced crashes by as much as 30 percent.
The new speed limit signs and queue detection and warning systems are the first part of a long-range plan that PennDOT says is designed to enhance travel and safety along the I-76 corridor between King of Prussia and Philadelphia. It is all part of the “Transform 76” initiative and information on the plan can be found on transform76.com.MORE NEWS: 2 Mothers, Babies Rushed To Hospital After Being Rescued From Burning Frankford Apartment Building, Officials Say
The next phase of the project is still in design but it is expected to include, “additional active traffic management strategies such as the modernization of traffic signal systems along several roadways running near the expressway, and transforming the existing shoulders on portions of I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway) to accommodate an additional travel lane or “flexible” travel lane during peak travel times.”