DENVER (CBS4)– Those large, red “Do Not Enter” signs on highways and interstates can go unnoticed by even the most careful drivers. The Colorado Department of Transportation is testing a new wrong-way driver detection system in the Denver metro area.
CDOT already has several static, wrong-way signs along express lane ramps. CDOT’s new electric sign, accompanied by wrong-way detection technology, will warn drivers and alert CDOT of the potential danger.
The technology is being piloted at the reversible express lanes at Interstate 25 and 70th Avenue. It’s the first application of this technology for wrong-way detection in the state of Colorado.
Thermal sensors will detect wrong-way drivers as they enter the ramp. The sensors activate an electronic wrong-way sign at the end of the ramp, sending a final warning to drivers. At the same time, those sensors are also sending a message to CDOT.
“In just the couple of months we’ve been testing out these cameras, we’ve prevented four wrong way incidents,” said Shoshana Lew, CDOT Executive Director. Lew says those drivers turned around before they could put lives in danger.
CDOT’s Traffic Operation Center is notified of the wrong-way driver 2-3 seconds after the car passes the sensor. A camera above the ramp allows CDOT to visually confirm. If the driver doesn’t stop, CDOT will alert Colorado State Patrol or local law enforcement to the wrong way driver.
CDOT says the camera is not capable of taking a photo of the driver’s license plate.
In addition to the pilot program at I-25 and 70th Avenue, CDOT is also testing different types of wrong way technology at I-70 and Ward. Once they find the most effective method, CDOT says they’ll began expanding that technology around the area.