KDOT considering ramp meters for traffic entering I-35 at NEJC intersections; open house Monday for comment

The Lamar entrance to I-35 is not one that is highest on the list for ramp metering at the present time.
The Lamar entrance to I-35 is not one that is highest on the list for ramp metering at the present time.

Several I-35 interchanges in northeast Johnson County are under consideration for ramp metering which would pace the traffic entering the interstate during congested traffic times.

The intersections most likely to be considered for the meters include Roe – 18th St., Antioch Road, Johnson Drive, and 67th Street. The ramp metering project, being implemented by KC Scout, is designed to address the challenges to get on I-35 during rush hour. KC Scout is a traffic management program jointly administered by the Kansas and Missouri transportation departments.

The project spans I-35 from the state line to I-435 in the south. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in at community conversation sessions this month. The decision on which intersections get ramp meters will be made this fall.

Studies show that I-35 is the most heavily traveled freeway in the metro. The congestion is anticipated to double in the future, according to KDOT. The ramp meters, which look similar to traffic signals, hold entering traffic with a red light on the ramp. When the light turns green, traffic can enter the freeway. The meters monitor traffic to regulate the flow. KDOT says installing ramp meters can decrease the number of “sudden weaving and braking moments that happen as vehicles merge on I-35 from the on-ramps.”

Existing wait times on ramp meters in the Kansas City metro are now less than a minute. The ramp meters also are designed to turn off if the number of cars waiting on the ramp grows to the point where it backs up on city streets. They only are active during congested traffic times.

The intersections most likely to be considered for ramp meters are those that have ramps long enough for cars to line up and if there is adequate acceleration distance and sight distance. It is less likely if there are no traffic signals before the on-ramp so traffic should already be spaced out when hitting the interstate.

Construction is planned for the summer of 2016 on those intersections selected for meters. The community conversations will not include a formal presentatin, but KDOT and KC Scout staff will have displays with more details and ask for public ideas about improvements to traffic flow.

An open house will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at Sylvester Powell Community Center in Mission. Mobile meetings will be held 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at the Walmart Market in Westwood and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 31, at the Hen House in Merriam. Mobile meetings are in high traffic locations where the staff will set up display boards and discuss the project with anyone who wants to ask questions or offer input.

Online comments can be made here.

Metering