DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa DOT plans to add metering stoplights to entrance ramps onto I-235 from 50th Street eastbound to 63rd Street. Also for commuters heading westbound, there will be metered entrance ramps from 2nd Avenue downtown to 63rd Street.
“With ramp metering, it would often allow the traffic that would come down the ramp in what we call a platoon,” said Benjamin Hucker, of the Iowa DOT. “Four, six, or eight vehicles come down the ramp at once, the traffic signal turned green they all came at once. As all those cars are getting down to the interstate, all of a sudden you have a busy interstate, you have to find room for six cars in the interstate, that doesn’t work well when it’s busy.”
The metered stoplights would alternate red and green allowing a short space between cars. A yellow light would require no stop, but rather proceed with caution to merge, like is the current practice. The effort is part of a major plan with the DOT and other local transportation partners.
“The integrated program management, the overall goal is making use of the existing infrastructure we have out there today, shoulders lanes, things of that nature,” said Hucker.” In times of old we used to think that the solution to any transportation problem was the addition of lanes, that’s an expensive option a very very expensive option.”
This new plan to integrate transportation could save the DOT around $ 1.9 billion over time. It would involve working to better sync up local stoplights, have commuters consider alternate travel times, and make public transit a more attractive option for drivers. The effort also hopes to better communicate traffic information to drivers so they can take the best route during accidents or bad weather.
The metered ramps will open in 2024 or 2025.