I Wanna Know

PW exposes the tricks, scams and truth about the powers that be.

By Heather Duffy
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 19, 2004

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Q: Several years ago there was a car metering system with signs and traffic signals installed on all the on-ramps to I-476 (the Blue Route), but the signs and lights were covered up and have never been uncovered. The idea of this system would be to slow down the flow of entering cars and create less disruption to the flow of traffic. These devices are up and working in many other states. Is this another example of the state wasting taxpayer money on something they never plan on implementing or maintaining?

A: There are functioning highway entrance ramp metering systems in cities across the country, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle and Chicago. Pennsylvania taxpayers should be pleased to know that their dollars haven't gone to waste on the Philadelphia-area metering system installed on most of the Blue Route's entrance ramps. The meters, which function like traffic lights telling motorists when they can enter the highway, should be working shortly after Labor Day, says PENNDOT spokesperson Charles
Metzger
. A computer glitch can be blamed for the long delay. Back in 1999 PENNDOT ran test operations on some of the entrance ramp locations on the lower end of the Blue Route, but it had to "go back to the drawing board with the software." Five years later PENNDOT's engineers think they've got it. "A consultant is finishing up with designing the new software," says Metzger. PENNDOT plans to start testing the meters later this summer, and should have four of the 15 meters fully functional by September, when the vacation driving season is over and most of those on the road will be commuters. Metzger says approximately $1.8 million has been spent on the project since it was funded in the mid-'90s.

What do you wanna know? Send queries and complaints to Heather M. Duffy at hduffy@philadelphiaweekly.com

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