Ramp Meters on Three North I-25 On-Ramps Start Operating Monday, May 8

Meters intended to ease congestion during peak commute times

NORTHERN COLORADO—Beginning Monday, May 8, drivers entering I-25 will see some new lights, and it might be a little confusing.

The new ramp meter lights have been installed on the northbound and southbound ramps at CO 392 and the southbound on-ramp at Harmony Road. The meters will begin regular operation on Monday.

The meters will detect congestion on the interstate and will be activated when conditions warrant it to alleviate congestion. There are no set hours for the operation, but morning and evening rush hours—specially on Fridays—are traditionally the busiest for those intersections.

Ramp metering systems (the traffic signals along entrance ramps to a highway) allow traffic to enter a highway at a rate dependent upon the conditions of highway traffic. While motorists may experience some delay at the meter, highway speeds, safety and overall travel times are improved. Metering will only take place during high-volume times in the morning and evening, during the week. Exactly when the meters will go into effect will be determined in the field and adjusted as needed.

Ramp metering is in place in several areas around the state, but these will be the first ramp meters in Northeast Colorado.

I-25 and C-470 in the Denver area provide an example of the positive benefits of ramp metering. After the installation of ramp meters on a section of southbound I-25, the average speed increased 31 percent, or 8.6 miles per hour. On the C-470 section, travel speed was increased an average of 10 percent, or 7 miles per hour.

Safety is also an issue. Ramp meters have decreased rear and side crashes by about 50 percent in the Denver area. And the study in 2014 showed, for example, that 47 of the 48 peak-period crashes near the southbound ramp at Harmony Road happened during the evening commute.

The locations for installation were selected following the results of a ramp metering feasibility study completed in 2014, which showed these three locations were the only ones along I-25 that would benefit the flow of traffic on I-25. Funding for the $440,000 project was made available for this year.

"While the original study done in 2014 showed ramp meters were warranted at these three locations, a follow-up study has now shown that every ramp on I-25 from Johnstown to Fort Collins could use ramp meters," said Larry Haas, CDOT regional traffic operations engineer. "That's how quickly our population and traffic congestion has grown."

Additional ramp meters may be installed as part of the North I-25 Express Lanes project (expected to begin construction at the end of this year or beginning of next year), but no determination has been made if that will be possible.

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