B.C.’s department of transportation and infrastructure is installing two variable speed limit systems one in the Fraser Valley region on a 24km section of Highway 1 between Sumas River Bridge in Abbotsford and the Prest Road overpass in Chilliwack.
The heavily travelled section of Highway 1, where traffic over the past five years has increased from an average of 45,500 vehicles per day in 2013 to 53,000 counted in 2017, has a high number of rear-end collisions (approximately 86 per year).
This new system is designed to lower the speed limit to slow people down before traffic reaches a stop-and-go situation, helping to reduce the number of collisions that occur when drivers do not notice vehicles that have stopped on the highway.
“People are frustrated with being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on this busy stretch of Highway 1, and crashes during congestion means it takes even longer to get moving again,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in a media release. “We are installing new technology – a first for B.C. – to adjust speeds before a traffic jam develops, which should reduce accidents, as well as traffic delays.”
On Highway 3, between Hope and the Highway 3/5 junction, a road and weather-based variable speed limit system will be installed along this 7km stretch. Here, the system will collect data, from road surface sensors and traffic sensors, to lower speeds in bad weather, to help reduce the frequency and severity of weather-related crashes.
The installation has begun and the ministry expects the systems to be operational in summer 2019.
The total cost of implementing new variable speed limit systems on Highways 1 and 3 is estimated at $25 million, which includes the system components, such as electronic signs, electrical cabinets, and traffic and weather sensors.
The ministry has awarded an $11.35-million contract to MRC Total Build LP of Langley.