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Ready, set, stop: More metered lights coming to I-25 on-ramps

Four more metered lights are set to go live this month in Colorado Springs
Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 06, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Drivers may have noticed four new metered lights being installed on highway ramps around town. Despite the addition of the on-ramp lights, state traffic engineers cannot say whether they're having an impact on traffic safety through the Springs.

Colorado Department of Transportation traffic engineers tell News5 Investigates there are too few in Colorado Springs to measure whether the lights have made any impact on speeding, traffic patterns, or crashes on the interstate.

"If the majority of traffic was controlled entering the interstate with ramp meters, the operational benefits; such as higher average running speeds, which leads to shorter time to traverse the interstate and a more reliable trip time from day to day would be possible," said Jason Nelson, CDOT program engineer for Region 2 which covers Colorado Springs.

Ramp meters have been effective in Denver in optimizing traffic flow and the Colorado Department of Transportation plans to install more as needed, Nelson said. But current funding only allows for the installation of one more meter off I-25 in Colorado Springs, Nelson said.

It already installed the last meter, along the northbound Fillmore Street on-ramp. But more work will be done to widen the road to accommodate two lanes and "a continuous auxiliary lane constructed between Fillmore and Garden of the Gods."

Some drivers clearly don't see the benefit of the traffic control, choosing not to slow down for the metered on-ramp lights which allow one vehicle per lane to advance at a time. In fact, while hovering over I-25 southbound at Rockrimmon Drive, our drone caught 19 vehicles blow through the red light in just six minutes.

We showed that video to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Aaron Lupton who said he has pulled over more drivers recently for running the on-ramp red.

"It’s definitely become more common. It’s certainly not the number one thing we’re stopping people for. But we’re out there, and it is one of the moving violations we’re looking for," Lupton said.

Colorado State Patrol uses aircraft to monitor problem spots like I-25 at South Academy Boulevard, looking to stop multiple cars coming up the ramp at once. That's a good indicator that someone in the group ran the red light, Lupton said.

And it's not a small fine. Running a metered light on an on-ramp is equivalent to accelerating through a red light at an intersection.

"So you get written the same ticket that you would if you ran a red light, which is a $113, and that's a four-point moving violation. That's four points against your license," Lupton said.

From the drone video, it appears some drivers are confused about whether they should stop if the light is turning green as they approach.

"The main thing we are looking for is that people are stopping, they're allowing that meter to work as it should, and they’re creating that space so they can safely get up to speed and merge," Lupton said.

Four new red light meters will turn on at the end of this month. Two are located at North Academy Boulevard north and southbound, one is on Northgate Boulevard's northbound on-ramp and the final light is on the southbound on-ramp at Woodmen Road.

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