A dangerous intersection on Highway 2 in Montana is being equipped with advance warning signs designed to inform drivers traveling at or above posted speeds that traffic is slowing ahead.

February 01, 2015

PROVO, UT—A dangerous intersection on Highway 2 in Montana is being equipped with advance warning signs designed to inform drivers traveling at or above posted speeds that traffic is slowing ahead. The system uses SmartSensor Matrix to monitor traffic as it approaches the intersection, providing the Montana Department of Transportation with a cost effective way to improve the safety of the highway without adding more lanes of travel. 

The non-signalized intersection of Highway 2 and Springcreek Road in Kalispell, Montana, has been the site of several bad crashes. The problem arises when vehicles traveling eastbound on Highway 2 need to turn left onto Springcreek Road: there is no dedicated turn-lane, so left-turning vehicles stop in the middle of the lane; due to a bend in the road, other eastbound drivers cannot see the intersection and are often unaware that vehicles have slowed or stopped ahead to make the turn.

Montana DOT, working with contractor Stillwater Electric, chose to install advance warning signs on the approach to the intersection to warn high-speed vehicles of slow-moving or stopped vehicles. Two SmartSensor Matrix units have been deployed at the intersection at the northwest and southeast corners; when Matrix detects a stopped vehicle, it triggers the advance-warning beacons and LED rimmed signs located upstream on the highway and also on Springcreek Road. These signs alert drivers to the presence of a slow or stopped vehicle, giving them enough time to slow down to avoid a collision.

The goal of the project is to improve safety at the intersection without needing to fully signalize it or build out the road and add a dedicated turn lane. MDOT ruled out these options due to the high costs and impacts to traffic. Officials believe the advance warning signs will help improve safety without the need for additional lanes; SmartSensor Matrix was selected because it is non-intrusive, easy to install, and its detection accuracy has been proven at other installations within the state.

For more information about SmartSensor Advance, click here.