Utah Department of Transportation workers installed driver feedback signs on SR-36 in Lake Point Tuesday as a way to increase safety and decrease speeds.
The driver feedback signs automatically radar motorists as they drive by and flash how fast they are traveling.
According to Robert Miles, UDOT Region 2 traffic operations engineer, the signs are triggered to provide feedback when a driver goes by at 50 mph or faster.
Miles said for the first month, no changes will be made to the 50 mph trigger so that drivers can get used to the signs being there and modify their speeds accordingly.
“We just put them up, so if we don’t see a behavior modification after people get used to them, then we will lower the trigger so the sign starts flashing at 45 miles per hour,” he said.
Miles said this will be done by a speed study, during which a UDOT worker will sample the speed of vehicles driving by in the area and monitor how fast they are going.
“We will conduct the speed study, but we expect to see drivers’ speed drop there,” he said. “But if we don’t, then we’ll play with the signs and have them flash on at 45 miles per hour. However, we’re expecting that we’ll see results.”
There are two signs facing northbound and two signs facing southbound motorists. All four signs are solar powered.
The first northbound sign is located just before Saddleback Boulevard where the speed limit drops from 60 mph to 55 mph. The second northbound sign is just after the Travel Center. The signs for southbound motorists are located just after the I-80 offramp and just after McDonald’s.
“What we’ve found to be effective is just that the signs are feedback to drivers,” said Miles. “They remind them of the speed and how fast they’re going. These signs are a reinforcement of the speed limit as well as a friendly reminder so that people can modify their own behaviors.”
Lt. Corey Nye of the Utah Highway Patrol, said although the installment of the feedback signs won’t change officers’ speed limit enforcement patterns, he is aware that the area does have a problem with speeding drivers.
“The reality is that we do have a speeding problem in Lake Point,” he said. “We hope people will take some responsibility after seeing the signs and slow down. We also always hope that they’ll wear their seatbelts and be a little more courteous. However, we realize people will still choose to drive the way they do. But we can hope that [the signs] will help.”
Nye said highway patrol officers monitor different sections of SR-36 on a daily basis, including the Lake Point area.
“Those signs that are up won’t change our enforcement pattern, but SR-36 is a road we have concerns with,” he said. “We will always have officers working that section of the road. We understand that the road is busy and that there’s an increase of traffic [during commuting hours]. We will continue to aggressively enforce SR-36.”
Last January, UDOT announced it would install the driver feedback signs as a way to improve the safety of SR-36. According to UDOT, traffic counts show 25,840 vehicles traveled daily on SR-36 between Sunset Boulevard and Hardy Road during 2011. In the last five years, this section of SR-36 has had 144 accidents, according to UDOT records.
The most recent notable accident occurred last November when two Salt Lake City women were killed in a three-car crash in Lake Point near the Chevron station.
Besides the driver feedback signs, UDOT will also complete a couple of signal studies and make additional improvements along SR-36 this year. These include a signal study from 2000 North to Lake Point and a signal study to look for ways to improve left turn signals.
In addition, median barriers will be constructed in the Erda area to help prevent motorists from crossing over to the other side of the road.