GASTONIA- The N.C. Department of Transportation went live with the state's first Integrated Corridor Management System, or ICM, last spring along a section of Interstate 85 in Gaston and west Mecklenburg counties. The system's purpose is to reduce delays and increase travel time reliability between Charlotte and Kings Mountain. NCDOT invested $1.2 million after surveying interstate routes across the state that experienced frequent delays and congestion with suitable parallel alternate routes.
The project consists of 94 upgraded traffic signals along U.S. 74 and the I-85 ramps, two new dynamic message signs, and 11 new closed-circuit television cameras, all of which have been integrated into the Statewide Intelligent Transportation Systems network, or ITS. The ITS improves transportation safety and mobility through the integration of technologies into the transportation.
The system redirects traffic to parallel routes in the event of an incident on the interstate and prioritizes it with refined traffic signal timing and coordination. An additional 24 changeable trailblazer signs along U.S. 74 are used to support traveler information. These signs will dynamically direct traffic along U.S. 74 until it is safe to return to the interstate. The system also provides faster communication between first responders, law enforcement, municipal and state transportation officials, and the public.
Several interstate widening projects around the state are using a similar approach to managing incidents, including I-26 between Hendersonville and Asheville, I-40 in the Raleigh area, and I-95 in the Fayetteville area. However, this is the state's first stand-alone ICM project outside of a work zone.