ramps lights 9_26_13

The onramp to eastbound Interstate 80 at Beck Avenue. The eastbound ramp metering lights are set to open in early 2014. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Solano County

Ramp metering lights ready for Solano debut

By From page A1 | February 14, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Motorists getting on the local stretch of eastbound Interstate 80 next week will get a kind of dress rehearsal for ramp metering lights.

Ramp metering lights since 2011 have sat unused from Red Top Road to North Texas Street. Starting Tuesday, the eastbound I-80 lights will turn on for the first time to deal with the afternoon rush hour.

But the lights will be green the entire week, according to the state Department of Transportation. That means motorists will be able to get on the ramps and go, as usual.

“There is a period of adjustment,” Caltrans spokesman Vince Jacala said.

That’s for both the motorists and Caltrans, he said. The agency will have crews in the field to monitor the metering lights to make certain they work properly.

Then, the week of Feb. 24 to 28, the era of metering lights within Solano County will begin in earnest.

The lights will be still be green Monday through Thursday during afternoon rush hour, unless there is a freeway accident or other unusual condition that creates heavy traffic. But, during Friday afternoon rush hour, the lights will alternate between green and red, acting as a stop light on the ramp to force vehicles to enter the freeway at intervals.

Friday afternoon rush hour from 2 to 8 p.m. has the worst traffic conditions and warrants using the lights, Caltrans studies show.

Metering lights will be activated at nine eastbound I-80 locations. These ramps are at Red Top Road, Highway 12 from Jameson Canyon, Suisun Valley Road, Chadbourne Road, Auto Mall Parkway, Beck Avenue, Travis Boulevard, Air Base Parkway and North Texas Street.

One local eastbound I-80 onramp signal will remain turned off – the one on the ramp leading from Interstate 680. Local transportation officials have said that vehicles are already metered at this location on Friday afternoons just by the sheer amount of traffic congestion.

“That one’s in the future,” Jacala said.

Ramp metering lights, though new to Solano County, have been used in Southern California for years. The Los Angeles/Ventura area has about 900 ramp metering lights, according to Caltrans.

Jacala said the purpose of the metering lights is to space out traffic, so vehicles don’t enter the freeway bunched closely together. That makes it safer for the vehicles merging and for the vehicles on the freeway, as well as improves the flow of freeway traffic, he said.

Some local motorists have expressed concern about the metering light on the connector between eastbound Highway 12 in Jameson Canyon and eastbound I-80. Motorists approach this area at highway speeds, unless traffic is heavy enough to slow them down.

“We have looked at it closely,” Jacala said. “We anticipate it will work just fine.”

This is to be just the beginning of ramp metering lights in Solano County. A second proposed step is activating ramp metering lights along both eastbound and westbound I-80 from Redwood Street in Vallejo to Interstate 505 in Vacaville, possibly in early 2015.

A final step would be to activate ramp metering lights in the remainder of the county, when money is found to install the lights, according a Solano Transportation Authority report.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 6 comments

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  • FDCFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:11 am


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  • CD BrooksFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:18 am

    FDC, we saw the sigs alerting us that they were turning the lights on. I Agree, madness is an appropriate choice!

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  • The MisterFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:51 am

    We were told we wouldn't need these for 20 some years... just that putting them in now allowed us to have Federal funds. Seems like a bunch of liars somewhere. My guess it has to do with the STA. You know they are a non-government organization that your local government voluntarily submits authority too. They are one of the "regional non-governmental" entities that are a part of Plan Bay Area, One Bay Area, ICLEI and Agenda 21. Everyday when you get stuck behind one of these metering lights, just think to your self, "Agenda 21 is real and it is impacting my life more and more."

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  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 11:33 am

    Lordy me. Only a few days till the jack booted U.N. soldiers come marching down Texas Street. But yes, these lights were unnecessary.

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  • MarkFebruary 14, 2014 - 2:05 pm

    more spending of millions of taxpayer dollars for little to no benefit of the taxpayer.

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  • Dan D. LionFebruary 14, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    I do not see how this will work to weed out traffic congestion....I think it could actually cause traffic snarls.....Why do we need these metering lights popping up everywhere?.....Why does CALTRANS take such pride in these unnecessary lights? Happy Valentines Barry Eberling !

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