Highway Department begins the work of adding 7 'dynamic message' signs to Tulsa's highway network

Tuesday, June 24th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Electronic signs along the highway can be used to help when an Amber Alert is issued. Oklahoma's Department of Transportation plans to make those portable electronic signs, permanent, as a way to keep drivers informed.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says we've all seen these signs along the side of the road. Now picture this same thing stretched all the way across the highway.

On any given day, there are a lot of us spending a lot of time in cars. Paul Green with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, "it's probably around 60,000 cars a day, in some locations, more than 100,000 cars on I-44 and that kind of thing." So the state is putting all the people and time to use.

Over the next few months Tulsa will get 7 dynamic message signs like those one in Oklahoma City. And the uses are endless, from something as mundane as a traffic jam to alerting the public about a kidnapped child. Kind of like having 60,000 investigators at the touch of a button. "Any tie-ups, any emergency situations, even a terrorist problem if we have something of that nature.” These portable signs work pretty well, but they're so small and low to the ground, they're sometimes hard to see.

The message also has to be changed manually at the sign. Workers will be able to communicate with the permanent signs remotely. Not only can they tell the signs what to do, the signs will give them information. "These signs will all have cameras on them so we can see if there's a traffic tie-up, snarl, any kind of situation."

The signs will be posted on most of the main roads into town. On the north and south ends of Highway 169, on the east and west ends of I-44. There's one on the Broken Arrow Expressway naturally. Also on I-244 and US 412. The idea is to create a perimeter so there's time for people to take an alternate route. But if all goes well, there's already talk about putting more signs on the interior highways.

The first signs will be going in this weekend. They hope to have all of them done by September.