VDOT says go: all-day variable speeds on Woodrow Wilson Bridge

| 11/25/2008

Variable speed limits were in effect Monday, Nov. 24, on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

The Virginia Department of Transportation started testing the variable speed-limit program on the bridge in August. VDOT officials have been satisfied with the results of the experiment with variable speed limits during nighttime and off-peak hours.

The new $700 million Woodrow Wilson Bridge carries the I-95/I-495 Capital Beltway over the Potomac River at Alexandria, VA.

John Undeland from the Wilson Bridge Project observed Monday morning’s rush hour and told News Channel 8 that when the speed limit was lowered to 45 miles per hour, drivers did slow down.

“By slowing traffic upstream, you get a lot more efficiency ... a lot more through-put of vehicles and a lot more safety,” Undeland said.

VDOT officials hope that using variable speeds all day will help reduce bottlenecks and help with traffic congestion near the bridge. Virginia State Police will be providing enforcement of the posted speed limits along the corridor.

Motorists on a seven-mile stretch of Interstate 95 will be informed of the variable speed limits with electronic signs. Cameras and sensors measure the traffic flow. As the congestion worsens, traffic engineers adjust the speed limit downward.