PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you travel on the Parkway East during rush hour, you know how jammed it can get.
Besides renovating the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, PennDOT is looking into another way to help keep traffic flowing.
In an effort to alleviate some of the congestion, PennDOT is considering a ramp management system.
That means some on-ramps would have traffic signals, while others would be closed during peak hours.
“If an entrance ramp isn’t available or is controlled from an access stand point, it would monitor that traffic flow in hopes of helping mainline traffic move more smoothly,” PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said.
The system would include work on the ramps and some secondary streets. The project is so preliminary at this point that those details are still being worked out.
Similar systems are already used in a number of cities around the country. In many cases, besides better traffic flow, the number of crashes went down.
“If we can improve the safety of the highway, we also reduce the crashes and the crashes oftentimes cause a lot of the traffic backups and create then other subsequent safety problems,” Cessna said.
PennDOT said other than paving and other minor projects, the Parkway East hasn’t had any significant changes in 50 years.
“From our perspective, it’s pretty exciting to look at new innovations and technology because the reality is there is no funding to do any kind of major upgrade to the Parkway East as far as making the tunnel larger, making more lanes on the Parkway. So, we really need to look at innovative solutions like this to make improvements,” Cessna said.
However, don’t expect to see any of the ramp change anytime soon.
Engineers will begin taking a closer look at the end of this year, with construction money budgeted for 2016.