Smart Work Zone
2020 WTS Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year
Colorado Department of Transportation
“We are so excited that this innovative solution was recognized for its efforts to reduce delays, incident response times and overall improve safety for the workers and traveling public” says Paul Neiman, PE Project Director, I-25 South GAP Project.
CDOT is improving 18 miles of I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock by widening the highway from two to three lanes in each direction. The new lane will operate as an Express Lane, allowing motorists the choice of taking the added Express Lane for a faster, more reliable travel time in exchange for a toll.
The $419 million construction project also includes shoulder widening, rebuilding five bridges, constructing four new wildlife crossings, resurfacing the roadway with new pavement, improving operations with a southbound I-25 truck climbing lane and modernizing technology. Project completion is scheduled for November 2022. Since the construction period and presence of active work zone along the corridor is over 4 years, CDOT pro actively decided to plan for a comprehensive use of technology and innovative measures to minimize the construction impact and challenges for Colorado residents and the onsite work crew.
As in most construction areas, traffic flow can be interrupted by construction vehicles entering and exiting the work zone, traffic incidents, and recurring commuter congestion potentially resulting in long queues, delays, increased crash frequency or a complete highway shutdown. To help mitigate the congestion and increased crashes, the I-25 South Gap Project and CDOT Region 1 have deployed numerous smart work zone (SWZ) devices throughout the construction zone.
The innovative SWZ system included a variable speed limit zone for 18 miles and was partnered with a comprehensive safety coordination structure including:
- A project office operations center (POC)
- On-site courtesy patrol support
- First responder safety meetings
- Method of handling traffic control coordination
- Data gathering and analysis
- An emergency responder task force for all the local stakeholders
- Public Information and social media
Together with the SWZ technology and coordinated safety infrastructure, the I-25 South Gap project team and CDOT Region 1 could work in real time to try and reduce delays in incident response times and improve safety for workers and the public.