According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, an August 13th test of pacing between Silverthorne and Colorado’s Eisenhower Tunnel was a success. The pacing process, dubbed by CDOT as “rolling speed harmonization” was successful in maintaining a constant speed of 55 mph in summer driving conditions on a busy Saturday. The next test is slated for September 25th, followed by a test in December during winter conditions on a yet-to-be-determined date.
Colorado Highway Patrol and CDOT were able to were able to keep traffic moving at a constant 55 miles per hour by running highway patrol vehicles ahead of traffic with their lights on in five-minute intervals from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The vehicles maintained communication with each other, allowing them to coordinate their movements and maintain proper distance, timing, and speed.
CDOT hopes to maintain more even speeds on peak traffic days to prevent traffic jams and accidents on I-70 approaching the Eisenhower Tunnel. Pacing could also eliminate the need for metering at the tunnel, which currently can cause long delays on heavy traffic days. If the September 25th and December tests are successful, CDOT intends to start implementing the process on heavy traffic days as soon as Memorial Day 2012.
Traffic, car accidents, and stress placed on vehicles at the Eisenhower Tunnel, including stress placed on tranmissions, brakes, and suspensions, have long been a annoyance to Colorado drivers visiting the high country. Among other goals, CDOT officials hope to mitigate the cost of auto repair in Denver and the Front Range by implementing these changes.
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