New Ramp Meters Along I-35 Will Help Ease Rush Hour Traffic

Jun 2, 2017

There could be a slight change (and hopefully improvement) to your commute this summer if you regularly drive on I-35.

New ramp meters, designed to help ease congestion, will start running in mid-to-late July, says Mark Sommerhauser, KC Scout transportation project manager. 

KC Scout is working with the Kansas Department of Transportation on the $250,000 project. KC Scout will take over maintenance and operation once testing is finished. 

New ramp meters have been installed along I-35 to help ease rush hour congestion. They'll begin operating mid-to-late July.
Credit Courtesy - Kansas Department of Transportation

Drivers along I-35 may have already noticed the meters, covered up on several ramps in both north and southbound directions. Construction took place over the winter, and the contractors finished early, Sommerhauser says. The meters will stay covered until software and signal timing is ready.

All of the meters installed are in Kansas, running north from 75th Street to the state line.  

Sommerhauser says the ramp meter project aims to make commutes safer.

“It’s a lot easier to have cars merge in ones, twos and threes than 10 to 15 cars bumper to bumper coming down the ramp at once,” Sommerhauser says.  

The meters can sense when traffic is congested. When traffic starts to pick up, the meters will start running.

Sommerhauser says they will mostly function during morning and evening rush hours, but can turn on whenever needed.

“This is not going to fix all the congestion issues along I-35. But the idea is to make the merging safer and cut down on those slight fender bender and rear end accidents that can make a 20 minute commute suddenly increase to 60 minutes.”

Sommerhauser says there will be a six month and 12 month study to evaluate safety and effectiveness, and KDOT will work with the University of Kansas to do a formal study of the meters’ performance.

Catherine Wheeler is an intern for KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @cwheeeeeler.