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New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway to get new VMS

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has announced that drivers on two of the USA’s busiest toll roads, the new Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, will get new, real-time variable message signs (VMS) to warn them about congestion, construction, accidents and hazardous weather conditions. The Authority has awarded a US$10.9 million contract to PKF Mark III of Newtown, Pennsylvania, to carry out the work. The 33 new signs will be installed between September 2010 and May 2011. Six other new contracts, encompassing another 187 signs, are expected to be approved between October 2010 year and January 2013.

Turnpike officials say the new VMS will be easier to maintain, have better visibility and be more up-to-date than the old signs. They will be installed on a 137km (85 mile) stretch of the Turnpike, starting at milepost 32.2 in Burlington County and heading north to Bergen County. On the Parkway, they will be between mileposts 6 and 168, from Cape May to Bergen counties. Maintenance workers will be able to access the 2.6m by 7.3m (8.5 feet by 24 feet) VMS from the shoulders without having to close a traffic lane.

Drivers will now see posted speed limits and estimates for how long it will take to reach major routes, such as Interstate 78 or Interstate 280. The signs will also display weather conditions of the roadway up ahead sourced from local weather stations and monitoring equipment. Rich Raczynski, chief engineer for the Turnpike Authority, says the old fixed-message signs were difficult to maintain and have outlived their usefulness. “A lot of the neon lights are out, and we don’t have the replacement parts,” he says. Turnpike spokesman, Joe Orlando, says, “We’re really providing the people with the information they need to make decisions.”

 

March 1, 2010

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