Meeting outlines traffic flow solutions

- By Tim Zorn

Improving the flow of traffic along Interstate 80/94 — called the Borman Expressway in Lake County — has been the goal of a study commission­ed last year by the Indiana Department of Transporta­tion.

“Any time you make traffic flow better,” said Dan Prevost, a member of the Parsons team studying the highway, “that’s when you start to see safety improvemen­t.”

Indiana’s busiest highway, the Borman has run out of room for overall physical expansion.

Now it will depend primarily on technology to manage and improve its traffic flow and overall safety.

A yearlong Planning and Environmen­tal Linkages study identified four alternativ­es for more study along the 14-mile stretch of Interstate 80/94 from Illinois 394 to Interstate 65.

The final 80/94 FlexRoad study report is due next fall, Parsons public involvemen­t director Mindy Peterson said during an online public presentati­on Thursday evening, after an in-person public session Wednesday.

No cost estimates were disclosed during the presentati­on.

The highway averages about 200,000 vehicles a day, Peterson said, and about 30% are trucks.

Four strategies are part of all the alternativ­es under further study now.

Those are dynamic shoulder lanes, which let vehicles use the highway’s shoulders when traffic is heavy; event management, to respond quickly and effectivel­y to crashes; improved signage; and physical improvemen­ts to the Broadway interchang­e with the eastbound Borman in Gary.

Dynamic shoulder lanes are used on about a dozen highways across the country, Prevost said. Additional cameras would be mounted along the highway to monitor for safety.

Peterson said dynamic shoulder lanes can help to reduce secondary accidents, which happen when vehicles come up on a highway crash without warning.

Other alternativ­es being studied, along with the four in the basic package, include ramp metering, to limit traffic entering the highway during busy times; variable speed limits and dynamic lane control, to reduce speed in some lanes or close some lanes after a crash; and queue warning, with signs warning of closed lanes ahead.

Another alternativ­e in the study

would include all the above strategies.

One of the people listening in on Thursday’s presentati­on expressed concern that ramp metering would mean trucks would take longer to reach highway speeds. Prevost said that would have to be considered.

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