Raleigh - North Raleigh area residents will get a chance this week to learn more about an on-ramp signal system new to North Carolina that is being installed along a stretch of westbound Interstate 540 to help improve traffic flow. An open-house meeting is planned for Thursday, Sept. 29, to provide information about the use of stop-and-go lights similar to traffic signals that will be installed on four interstate entrance ramps.
When the signals are activated, vehicles on the ramp must stop when the light is red and wait a few seconds until it turns green before proceeding on to the freeway. This allows only one or two vehicles to merge at a time, which reduces competition for space when merging onto I-540.
The purpose of the ramp signals, also known as ramp meters, is to space out the number of cars trying to merge on the interstate at once, which makes merging smoother. That in turn should provide more reliable times on the freeway, as well as improved safety. The signal system is already in use in several states and throughout Europe.
The first on-ramp signals in North Carolina will be installed along westbound I-540 at these four entrance ramps, and are expected to be active in spring 2017:
Falls of Neuse Road (Exit 14)
Six Forks Road (Exit 11)
Creedmoor Road (Exit 9)
Leesville Road (Exit 7)
The open-house meeting will be held on Thursday, at the Abbotts Creek Community Center at 9950 Durant Road, between 4 and 7 p.m. There will be no formal presentation, so visitors can stop by anytime during those hours to review plans and materials for the project, and to ask questions.
Although the on-ramp signals will mainly be used during the morning and evening commutes, they can be activated at any time for circumstances such as crashes, special events or construction.
More information about on-ramp signals, including a video, can be found on the project web site.