AUSTIN (KXAN) — How much will a work zone affect your trip on Interstate 35? The Texas Department of Transportation says the answer will soon be as plain as the sign in front of you.
The department is installing a “Smart Work Zone” system on the Mobility35 improvement project on I-35 between Stassney Lane and William Cannon Drive. The system, featuring real-time travel information and a message sign to notify drivers, will be in place by Friday
The zone has side scanning microwave radar that’s able to detect vehicle movement, which it then sends to a central processor. That allows TxDOT to get an idea of what travel times will be like for work zone-affected drivers.
“Drivers can now make informed travel decisions on whether they want to proceed through the work zone, exit onto the frontage road, or choose to take an alternate route around the work zone,” Terry McCoy, the Austin District Engineer, said. “This helps alleviate work zone-related congestion and improves safety for motorists and workers.”
Eight portable work zone devices will be installed along the corridor. Each device will have a high definition closed circuit camera mounted on a 30-foot mast pole to give live views of the project and traffic conditions, the department said in a statement. That video will be streamed and monitored at the Combined Transportation Emergency Communications Center.
“With I-35 in Central Texas being one of the most congested highways in Texas, we have to keep looking for ways to manage traffic throughout this corridor,” McCoy said. “Knowing there is no one single strategy to reduce traffic by itself, we’re taking an ‘everything including the kitchen sink’ approach to improve mobility and communication on I-35.”