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New ramp lights are here to stay in Colorado Springs

Posted at 6:22 AM, Nov 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-02 18:42:18-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Love them or hate them, they're here to stay.

You've probably noticed more ramp lights on I-25 on and off ramps in Colorado Springs. Recently, new ramp lights were added to the on-ramp, heading northbound at North Academy. These are a little different from what we are used to seeing.

The existing ramp meters throughout the city allow two cars to merge at the same time. This is what the Colorado Department of Transportation calls a “simultaneous release.” These new lights are being referred to as a “staggered start.”

It’s designed to let one vehicle travel through the light at a time.

 “It takes away that interaction between two different vehicles, just trying to space them out so that they can enter the mainline traffic more easily,” Pepper Whittlef, the C-DOT north program traffic manager.

Whittlef says the current dual ramps we see have been working well and have reduced merging crashes on the interstate. However, this is C-DOT’s way of responding to complaints they have received about how confusing the dual-release system is.

 “One of the biggest complaints we have about our ramp meters is the simultaneous release. It’s kind of a drag strip start, and people don’t necessarily like that so we’re trying this to see if there is any impact on freeway operations,” said Whittlef.

C-DOT says this is a test program. I’m told this test will run for 6 months to about a year before C-DOT decides on whether to keep these ramp meters.

So, what happens if this one-car-at-a-time concept doesn't work? Whittlef says these can be converted to a dual ramp system down the road.

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