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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, November 16, 2009

SR 520 and I-90 getting 'smart'

What a "smarter highway" would look like.The state Department of Transportation has begun installing a series of electronic speed-limit and lane status signs on State Route 520 in Bellevue, one of three corridors slated to receive the new "Smarter Highways" technology. Linked to sensors in the pavement, the signs will warn motorists when a stall or collision is causing congestion ahead.

Workers have started construction on new sign bridge bases and installation of conduit to support the overhead structures on SR 520, between Interstate 5 in Seattle and 130th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue. 

"Traffic engineers call it active traffic management, but it's really about making our highways smarter," said Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. "Smarter Highways technology will move traffic more effectively, using our existing highways better, a key element of our three-part Moving Washington Strategy to reduce congestion." 

Drivers will use Smarter Highways on three of Washington's busiest corridors. The locations and activation dates are:

  • SR 520 between I-5 and 130th Avenue Northeast in summer 2010;
  • Northbound I-5 between Boeing Access Road and I-90 in summer 2010; and
  • I-90 between I-5 and 150th Avenue Southeast in Bellevue in spring 2011.

WSDOT offers more details about the new technology, including a video simulation.

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