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November 13, 2012 > I-80 goes high-tech

I-80 goes high-tech

Submitted By Tess Lengyel

The I-80 corridor, one of the most congested in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traffic volumes reaching 290,000 vehicles per day and an average of 7,500 hours of daily traffic delays. However, innovative high-tech solutions to improve highway and transit efficiency throughout the corridor are on the way.

On October 19, 2012, Caltrans, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC), the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC), in conjunction with local jurisdictions and transit agency partners throughout the two-county corridor, began construction on the final phases of the Interstate 80 Integrated Corridor Mobility (I-80 ICM) project.

The I-80 ICM project will improve traffic flow through the corridor to reduce congestion and travel time and improve safety by installing a suite of active traffic management (ATM) tools, along with adaptive ramp metering (ARM) at 40 on-ramps. The addition of these leading-edge intelligent transportation technology tools will position this section of I-80, between the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Toll Plaza and the Carquinez Bridge, for 21st century vehicle and transit travel.

The San Pablo Avenue corridor and other I-80 connecting arterials are also included in the project, which is the first of its kind in the Bay Area to integrate freeway and arterial operations into a single system. It is also the first project to use variable advisory speed signs for end-of-queue warnings (helping to reduce secondary accidents) and the first installation of lane use signs in California. Transit will receive priority at ramps when they enter the freeway.

"Safer and more efficient and reliable traffic flows along I-80 are essential to the current and future vitality of the Bay Area," said Alameda CTC Chair Mark Green. "Alameda CTC is working to ensure that county and regional transportation systems will run as smoothly as possible and keep pace with demand, as the Bay Area's population grows, using high-tech solutions to increase capacity on our existing roadways. This project means time-savings and greater convenience for Bay Area residents and businesses that rely on the I-80 corridor."

"This project will provide our cities the necessary tools to better manage traffic on our streets when things break down on the freeway," added WCCTAC Chair Janet Abelson.

"With an investment of $5M from the Contra Costa Measure J half-cent sales tax, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority has leveraged over $76M in State funds to improve traffic flow and safety along one of the most congested corridors in the Bay Area," said CCTA Chair Don Tatzin.

The I-80 ICM Project, which will cost approximately $80M, is funded largely by the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account and the Traffic Light Synchronization Program, both created by State Proposition 1B. The Alameda CTC's commitment of approximately $2.8M of Alameda County Measure B half-cent sales tax has also leveraged State funds towards the project's overall cost.

The project entails the collaboration and co-operation of 18 agencies on operating and maintenance principles for the corridor.

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