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Red lights for interstate on-ramps could come to Charlotte

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to spend $700,000 on a study to determine whether traffic lights on highway on-ramps would help vehicles merge more smoothly.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to spend $700,000 on a study to determine whether traffic lights on highway on-ramps would help vehicles merge more smoothly. CHARLOTTE OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Traffic lights for interstate on-ramps could be coming to Charlotte.

The Charlotte City Council will vote Monday on whether to help fund a state study to determine whether a “ramp metering” system would relieve congestion on interstates in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Iredell and Cabarrus counties.

The traffic lights are usually found in large congested cities such as Los Angeles.

On the ramp for traffic wishing to enter an interstate, there would be a light that would either be red or green – no yellow. The lights are designed to allow one or two vehicles to merge onto the highway every few seconds and prevent too many vehicles from entering an interstate at once.

The N.C. Department of Transportation plans a $700,000 study of the lights. The study would take about a year to finish.

Council members will vote on whether to enter a municipal agreement with DOT for the study.

The city will help fund the study through the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, which makes transportation decisions for the area. CRTPO would pay just under $153,000 for the study.

DOT would pay $525,000 and the two other transportation planning organizations would pay $22,143.

The study will focus on interstates 77, 85 and 485.

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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