The Charlotte City Council voted 8-3 Monday night to participate in a study to see whether traffic lights in interstate on-ramps would help motorists merge more easily and reduce congestion.
The N.C. Department of Transportation plans a $700,000 study of the lights, which it calls a “ramp metering system.” The study would take about a year to complete.
The city will help fund the study through the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, which makes transportation decisions for the area. CRTPO would pay just under $153,000 for the study.
DOT would pay $525,000 and two other transportation planning organizations would pay $22,143.
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Patsy Kinsey, Claire Fallon and LaWana Mayfield voted against the study. After the meeting Kinsey said she had too many questions about the lights and said she wasn’t sure if it would be worth the time or money.
The traffic lights are usually found in large congested cities such as Los Angeles.
The lights would be placed alongside interstate on-ramps. The light would either be green or red – no yellow.
The lights are designed to allow one or two vehicles to merge onto the highway every few seconds and prevent too many vehicles from entering an interstate at once.
The study will focus on Interstates 77, 85 and 485 in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Gaston counties.