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New Sensors Will Help Manage Traffic in Minnesota Work Zones

Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) – The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be trying out some new technologies in southern Minnesota during the upcoming highway construction season.

It promises to be another busy season for road work in southeastern Minnesota, with repaving on northbound Highway 52 between Rochester and Cannon Falls on the schedule. MNDOT is also planning some bridgework along I-35 in the Owatonna area that will significantly disrupt the flow of traffic this summer.

MNDOT spokesman Mike Dougherty says the agency will be employing a new signage system tied to sensors on the roadways for both projects. He says the sensors will be able to gauge the amount and speed of the traffic heading into the work zones and that information will be used to advise motorists, in real time, on how to best deal with the traffic and get through the construction zone as smoothly as possible.

For example, during very busy periods, the signs would likely recommend motorists use both lanes of the highway and “zipper merge” just before the spot where traffic is limited to a single lane. The signs can also give motorists early warning that traffic has come to a standstill because of congestion, or that the traffic load is light and delays are not expected.

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