FAIRFIELD — State transportation leaders came Wednesday to the Solano Transportation Authority meeting to give details on the upcoming activation of ramp metering lights along local Interstate 80 onramps.
The lights are scheduled to turn on along only eastbound I-80 ramps through Fairfield from Red Top Road to North Texas Street on Feb. 18. The exception is the ramp leading from Interstate 680 to I-80, with lights there set be activated in a later phase.
These eastbound I-80 ramp lights are to be green only for the first week, to alert the public. They are to begin normal operations on Feb. 24.
Eastbound I-80 lights through Fairfield are to operate from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but would be green unless traffic conditions are heavy. They will operate from 2 to 7 p.m. on a typical Friday and 2 to 8 p.m. on a Friday before a holiday weekend.
“We’ve come a long way in ramp metering in the Bay Area,” Dan McElhinney, deputy director of the state Department of Transportation District Four, told the Solano Transportation Authority Board of Directors.
The Bay Area has 381 ramp meter light locations and by the end of 2015 this should grow to 700, he said.
Caltrans installed the ramp metering lights on Fairfield I-80 onramps in 2009, but delayed turning them on pending discussion with local officials. It plans to someday have lights on I-80 ramps throughout Solano County. Ramp meter lights along both eastbound and westbound I-80 from Redwood Road in Vallejo to Interstate 505 in Vacaville are to be activated in 2015.
The goal is to space out vehicles getting onto the freeway to improve freeway traffic flow. Ramp metering lights have long been in place along some Southern California freeways and have been activated in the Bay Area in recent years in Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
But local officials have expressed caution about the lights, wanting to make certain the lights don’t have such unwanted effects as backing up freeway ramp traffic onto local streets. Caltrans seems to have addressed most of the concerns, with no criticisms coming up at Wednesday’s meeting.
“We appreciate your support and any further suggestions you might have as we move forward,” McElhinney said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.