December 20, 2013
Virginia's interstates can be a dangerous place, especially with the increased traffic as people head home for the holidays, and a recent speed limit increase. But Governor Bob McDonnell hopes to improve safety.
In an effort to improve the safety along I-64, the Commonwealth Transportation Board was recently awarded a $4.6 million contract to begin an Active Traffic and Safety Management System (ATSMS).
“Technology is there for people's safety and we are hoping it will make a big difference,” says Ken Slack, communications specialist for the Virginia Department of Transportation office in Staunton.
Slack says the upgrades are necessary to help prevent accidents.
“We have thousands of trips today for people who live in Augusta County and work in Charlottesville or vice versa,” says Slack. “A lot of commuter traffic and a lot of fog that comes on this mountain. Visibility is down and it's certainly not a safe condition for folks.”
Between mile marker 94 and 107 VDOT will upgrade the fog light system that is currently in place with new traffic sensors that will notify drivers of changing weather conditions.
“We really hope that we can cut down on these types of accidents by letting drivers know what they are getting into.”
Jill Bridges travels along I-64 to get to Richmond and also sees the need for the new upgrades.
“Definitely when it's foggy and crossing over the mountain it would be very good to have some improvements to help driver safety,” says Bridges. “You definitely have to slow down and be much more precautious and with the amount of tractor trailers on the roads it can be scary.”
The new improvements will also include more cameras throughout that stretch of road near Afton Mountain, so people who are planning on going out near those exits will know the road conditions.
“Our theory here, as the governor pointed out, is that a more informed driver is a safer driver and we are really trying to cut down on the number of weather related accidents along this stretch of the interstate,” says Slack.