ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Transportation has installed new meters on I-85 entrance ramps at State Route 20 (Exit 115) in Buford and on State Route 400 at McFarland Road (Exit 12) in Forsyth County. These new meters will begin operating Wednesday.
Ramp meters are turned on before rush hour, and operate at different times of day depending on traffic patterns. Every 3-5 seconds, a cycle from red to green allows one vehicle at a time to merge onto the freeway. On two-lane ramps, the left and right lanes have alternating lights, so the left lane goes while the right is stopped, and vice versa.
"We'll monitor these new ramp meters very carefully," Georgia DOT Traffic Engineer Scott Zehngraff said. "If traffic starts to back up on the ramp, sensors will speed up the meters to allow more vehicles to move through. If our cameras show traffic spilling out onto the surface streets, we can turn them off completely."
Currently 170 ramp meters are operational in and around Atlanta. State DOT says they reduce average rush-hour commute times and control the flow of traffic from surface streets onto the interstate or state route. Other benefits, DOT says, include reductions in fuel consumption, merging accidents, and vehicle emissions.
"There will be a short learning curve period in the first few days as motorist adjust to following the meters," Zehngraff added. "We realize that we may need to tweak them. Please bear with us, and keep in mind that there is no one 'silver bullet' solution to eliminate congestion. Ramp meters are just one of several tools that can help fight congestion."