The B.C. government is spending $12.5-million to install 47 electronic signs on three major highways. The digital signs will change the posted speed limit, based on weather and other conditions.
Sensors will detect traffic, pavement conditions and visibility. Operations staff will use the information to adjust the legal limits.
“As a part of our rural highway safety and speed review, we looked at how we could help reduce crashes related to bad weather conditions,” said B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone, in a statement. “One of the ideas was to introduce new digital variable speed limit signs, in areas where the weather can change quickly and sometimes catch drivers off guard. The electronic signs will adjust the speed limit to let drivers know what speed they should be travelling during winter weather conditions, to help them reach their destination safe and sound.”
Crews have begun installing the signs, which will cover sections of the Trans-Canada, the Coquihalla and the Sea-to-Sky Highways.
The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will spend a few months testing the equipment after it is fully installed and hopes the system will go live early next year. Police will have the power to enforce the variable speed limits.
Last year B.C. increased the speed limits on 1,300 kilometres of highways, including the Coquihalla, to as much as 120 km/h. Stone said this summer that the increase boosted safety.
Variable speed limits are used in some U.S. states and parts of Germany and Finland. In 2014, Quebec began a pilot project with the digital signs.
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