The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has started work on a nine-month project to deploy the fiber cabling that will be the first step in converting US 24 into a Smart Mobility Corridor as part of the state’s long-term Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) program.
CDOT will install 17 miles (27km) of fiber-optic cable along US 24 to connect a critical link between the city of Woodland Park and Interstate-25/Cimarron Street in Colorado Springs. Part of Colorado’s statewide ITS program, the fiber-optic deployment project is expected to last nine months. Construction began in early January, with cable laying starting from Manitou Springs and working steadily eastwards toward the I-25. Barring any unforeseen difficulties or adverse weather conditions, the fiber is anticipated to go live by October this year. The work will include the installation of multiple conduits for CDOT, as well as the agency’s current and future partners. Working with the contractor Paonia Inc., CDOT’s US$2.5m fiber installation project is the first step in converting US 24 to a Smart Mobility corridor.
Assisting in the management of the state’s transportation network, the fiber cabling will connect a range of CDOT’s ITS devices, including:
- Dynamic message signs (DMS) that are used to provide traveler information;
- Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras used to monitor live traffic conditions;
- Electronic sensors used to detect and collect vehicle and roadway information;
- Road weather information systems (RWIS) stations to monitor real-time weather conditions;
- Traffic signal control systems that are programmed to adapt their timing in response to congestion.
The US 24 project will offer real-time access to these devices, which greatly increases their effectiveness during significant corridor events, such as road work, major accidents, and closures due to extreme weather conditions. The fiber will also give CDOT a remote connection to the traffic signals in Woodland Park, which will significantly improve their timing and keep the city’s traffic moving.
CDOT has partnered with local agencies Colorado Springs Utilities, El Paso County, City of Manitou Springs and Teller County to provide a path for installing their own fiber lines through this corridor. The fiber-optic installation project is one of multiple Ute Pass Projects along US 24 that began in mid-2018, including the recently completed Rockfall Mitigation work and the Montessori Wall repairs, as well as on-going projects at Ridge Road and 31st St. and the Westside Area Action Plan along Manitou and Colorado avenues.
“The fiber-optics project is part of our Smart Mobility Plan, a first of its kind, which is part of a 5- to 10-year initiative for statewide technology deployment,” said CDOT’s Region 2 program engineer, Mark Andrew. “This fiber project is the foundation for increased traffic monitoring, real-time communication to traveling public, and emerging vehicle communication technologies, all of which greatly improve safety and efficiency.”