Variable speed sign test underway in eastern Oregon

Posted at 1:31 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 15:31:46-04

In a first of its kind project in Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation highway managers are testing new variable speed signs on Interstate 84, to provide what authorities call a greater margin of driving safety during winter weather.

Over the past few weeks, ODOT crews have been installing variable speed signs in a critical thirty-mile corridor of Interstate 84 from Ladd Canyon to Baker City.

“These electronic message boards indicate a safe speed limit for vehicles when weather conditions turn adverse. Computers collect data regarding temperature, skid resistance (ice) and average motorist speed to determine the most effective speed limit for this area, and then present that speed on the variable speed signs,” according to an ODOT news release.

“This gives motorists additional information about their drive in order to remain safer on the highway. The signs will lower and raise speeds automatically to meet observed conditions on the roadway,” the release added.

The new variable speed signs are in a test phase and are expect to go live on November 1, according to ODOT.
At that time, they will indicate the speed limit which will be enforceable by state and local police.

Motorists may notice these signs as they traverse the highway and various on-ramps between Ladd Canyon and Baker City.