FHWA administrator helps launch smarter highways on I-5 in Seattle

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Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez on Tuesday, Aug. 10, joined state and local officials for the launch of “Smarter Highways on I-5,” a high-tech traffic management system that provides drivers real-time traffic information on lane conditions. Washington is one of the first states in the nation to implement this active traffic management system.

The system is expected to improve safety, reduce collisions and help relieve congestion by automatically alerting drivers to changing road conditions. It also will give drivers advance notice of incidents on the road ahead. In addition, the state patrol will enforce speed limits posted on the electronic signs. The project cost is $23.8 million, $17.5 million of which is federal funding.

“Improving people’s lives by getting them out of congestion and to their jobs and homes safely is one of our most important goals,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

“Smarter Highways” is part of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s congestion relief program, “Moving Washington,” intended to make highways more effective and prepare Interstate 5 for increasing traffic demands once the Alaskan Way Viaduct project is under construction.

“This technology will improve the quality of life for those in the Seattle area,” Mendez says. “Real-time information on road conditions can help drivers with decisions that will ultimately make their commutes more manageable.”