NDDOT deploys new traffic warning system for construction season

BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota Department of Transportation is deploying a new traffic warning system in order to reduce crashes during construction season.

Lane changes and compressed lanes are causing an increase in crashes on Interstate 94 during construction. With the help of state and federal grants, the DOT is unveiling new interactive caution signs.

"We always get lots of rear-end collisions, and this is an attempt to reduce that. Especially for people who are coming from out of town who aren't familiar with the construction on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully it grabs their attention," said Project Engineer Bernie Southam.

So what's so special about them? They're connected to sensors that detect the speed and frequency of vehicles going through a construction zone, then relaying a message to the boards telling drivers to slow down.

The department thinks this is a temporary version of a long-term solution outside of construction season.

"Somewhere along the line, along this interstate 94 corridor in Bismarck-Mandan, they would want to put some sensors out there to utilize the message boards for when there's an accident of the Grant Marsh Bridge and everything is coming to a halt," said Southam.

This is the first time this type of technology has been used in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

The I-94 construction project has a price tag of $20.4 million. The cost of the signs was factored into those costs.