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Safety improvements coming to fog-plagued Fancy Gap Mountain

Fancy Gap, I77 pileupBy MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

FANCY GAP – Less than a year after three people died in a 95-vehicle pileup on Interstate 77 in Carroll County, $7.5 million in safety improvements have been approved for the fog-plagued stretch of interstate.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin work this spring to install electronic signs, cameras and other technology to improve safety. Construction should be completed in the summer of 2015.

The 12-mile segment of I-77 has been the scene of a number of multi-vehicle crashes over the years, often as the result of heavy fog.

“VDOT is using technology to save lives on a section of I-77 that has a higher than average traffic crash rate related to fog or wind,” McAuliffe said during the announcement. “This project will help drivers reach their destination safely by keeping them informed of road and weather conditions.  The use of technology in transportation today is improving the safety and efficiency of our transportation network.”

Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will contract with G4S Technology Inc. of Springfield to design and build the Active Traffic and Safety Management System (ATSMS). American Electric Power will complete the electrical infrastructure needed for the improvements.

The ATSMS will include:

•Variable speed limits based on weather and traffic conditions,

•A network of electronic message boards to keep drivers informed of changing traffic and weather conditions,

•Additional traffic cameras to allow VDOT traffic operations center to monitor traffic and provide real-time information to drivers through 511 Virginia, and

•Additional detection stations to enhance weather-monitoring capabilities.

VDOT will be responsible for operating and maintaining the system.

A similar ATSMS projects is slated for I-64 along Afton Mountain.

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