INDOT testing technology to improve work zone safety and flow

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Officials with the Indiana Department of Transportation are testing a new way to apply tracking technology to improve safety and traffic flow through construction zones.

It’s the same kind of technology used in Fox59 Morning Traffic reports, and several smart phone apps and GPS systems. It tracks the movement and speeds of cell phone signals in vehicles. While the technology itself is not new, its application to INDOT projects would be.

INDOT spokesperson Will Wingfield told Fox59 only a handful of states are using the tracking technology to alert drivers who are approaching slowdowns and backups. If the testing proves beneficial, it could be used to broadcast information on dynamic warning signs along interstates.

“To be able to provide better information as you’re approaching a work zone so you know exactly where you’re going from a full speed interstate 70 mile an hour, to more of a stopped or slowed condition,” Wingfield said.

Recent traffic accidents killed two highway construction workers on I-69, and injured two more on I-70. Wingfield says the testing of the tracking technology is not a response to those accidents. But, it could be a new way to prevent future tragedies.

“If we can better equip people with better information about where those slowdown and stop conditions are, then hopefully they’ll practice better safe driving maneuvers in those areas,” he said.

The new tracking system could be utilized in some major construction on I-65 scheduled to begin next year.

INDOT is in the planning phase of a major project add lanes to I-65 in both directions over a 14-mile stretch between Southport Road and the city of Franklin. Construction is expected to begin in the Spring of 2015, lasting about two years.

Steady growth and development through Johnson County prompted INDOT to plan the $139 million dollar project. Work zones are expected to resemble current construction areas on the south side of Indianapolis between I-465 and Southport Road.

A new interchange at I-65 and Worthsville Road in Greenwood is also in the works. That construction is also expected to begin in the Spring of 2015.