BLACK MOUNTAIN — New signs with instant information have already provided benefits to drivers on the Old Fort Mountain section of Interstate 40.
A pair of dynamic message signs activated early this summer played a role in informing drivers of a roll-over crash last week that closed two eastbound lanes. The new eastbound sign near mile marker 64 told drivers, “Crash, 5 Miles Ahead, Left Lanes Closed.” It displayed the message while McDowell County EMS, State Highway Patrol and N.C. Department of Transportation personnel worked to reopen the lanes.
“The more advance warning we can provide motorists, the better so they can make better and safer travel decisions,” Western Intelligent Transportation Systems Engineer Chad Franklin said. “Drivers will be aware of the issue and they can slow down, or use a detour to bypass the incident.”
The safety project, adding signs prior to drivers navigating Old Fort Mountain, is designed to provide instant information in the event of a crash, maintenance, weather events, emergency events or any other roadway issue. Advance warning helps drivers make better travel decisions and reduces the possibility of crashes, including secondary crashes.
The Old Fort Mountain section of I-40, which traverses about 1,350 feet in elevation change over approximately 4.5 miles, carries about 38,000 vehicles per day, based on the 2018 traffic count.
“The signs will provide drivers the information necessary to make safe travel decisions,” Division 13 Traffic Engineer Anna Henderson said. “They can see it right there, in an instant, through their windshield.”