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I-275's new SmartLane set to open Monday

An ODOT graphic shows the difference between an open and closed Smartlane
An ODOT graphic shows the difference between an open and closed Smartlane

Starting Monday, a stretch of I-275 westbound between U.S. 42 and the Milford exit will have an extra lane along the shoulder to help ease traffic congestion.

ODOT's SmartLane corridor project, which began construction a few years ago, will utilize a system of cameras and electronic signs located above the highway to open and close lanes and adjust speed limits depending on the amount of traffic.

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During peak traffic times like morning and afternoon rush hours, ODOT employees monitoring the highway can open the SmartLane and lower the speed limit from 65 mph to 55 mph to better control traffic and keep things moving. The speed limit can be increased back to 65 mph once traffic becomes lighter.

ODOT selected the stretch of I-275 for the project because of its frequent issues with traffic congestion. The highway also has a median shoulder which was then repurposed as its extra lane.

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Public Information Officer Kathleen Fuller says although it's new, the electronic signs included in the update should be easy for drivers to understand when their commutes start Monday morning.

"[The signs] will basically have a green arrow indicating that the SmartLane is open," Fuller said. "If there's a red X that means it is closed."

ODOT plans to begin construction to add another SmartLane for I-275's eastbound lanes within the next few years.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.