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NCDOT hopes to ease Triangle congestion with on-ramp stop lights

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation is hoping to ease traffic congestion by installing red lights at 14 different on-ramps throughout the Triangle. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is hoping to ease traffic congestion by installing red lights at 14 different on-ramps throughout the Triangle.
CARY, N.C. -

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is hoping to ease traffic congestion by installing red lights at 14 different on-ramps throughout the Triangle.

Known as ramp metering, the lights would allow enough traffic to stop along the ramp so that it wouldn't back up on the exiting roadway. By releasing cars one-by-one onto the highway, the NCDOT says it will ease what it refers to as choke-point congestion.

The lights would be operated by road sensors and computers that would only kick them on when conditions warranted.

But before those light can be installed, engineers have to figure out what will work best and how many places will actually receive the lights.

"We would do one here and one there, and make sure everything is working right and have all the details worked out before any wholesale work went in," said NCDOT Chief Engineer Battle Whitley.

Ram metering is used in more than a dozen states in the U.S. NCDOT says it would cost between $105,000 and $110,000 per location to install the system onto ramps.

Whitley said the cost is dependent on "how much technology and how much we have to do to the site."

Ramp metering is used in more than a dozen states in the U.S.

The NCDOT said it will be another year before drivers begin noticing the lights; and even then, drivers will need to be educated on the new system.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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