As of June 2, 2016, variable speed signs are active in three locations throughout the province as part of a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure pilot project to help reduce the frequency and severity of weather-related crashes.
This safety initiative targets critical sections of Highways 1, 5 and 99. Crews have now installed:
18 variable speed signs along Highway 1 from Perry River to Revelstoke,
13 variable speed signs along the Coquihalla from Portia Interchange to the former Toll Plaza, and
16 variable speed signs along the Sea to Sky from Squamish to Function Junction.
The variable speed limit program is also supported by recent changes in the BC Motor Vehicle Act regulations that allow police to enforce these posted speeds. Drivers are encouraged to be aware when they enter a variable speed limit zone that posted limits are the maximum speeds allowed.
The digital signs will be very visible to drivers, and the speed limit will be adjusted to reflect driving conditions. Overhead message signs at the entrance of each corridor will inform drivers to be aware of changing weather conditions. Flashing amber lights will alert drivers to adjusted speeds that are not the posted limits along these corridors.
Whether it is extreme cold, freezing rain or heavy snowfall, an extensive system of traffic, pavement and visibility sensors are calibrated to detect the conditions and provide a recommended speed to operations staff located in the Regional Traffic Management Centre in Coquitlam. The recommended speed will be used to update the speed shown on digital signs, to help drivers know a safe driving speed during adverse weather conditions.
This pilot program is part of the ministry's Road Safety Improvement Program, as announced in BC on the Move. More information on variable speed signs is available here: www.gov.bc.ca/variablespeedlimits
The government first announced this pilot as part of its speed review (including increases to speed limits on some highways) in 2014. BCTA opposed increases to speed limits but agreed with the ministry’s decision to pilot variable speed limits. See the July 3, 2014, Bulletin article, “BCTA Responds to Speed Review Announcement with Industry Safety Message.”
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