Posted: June 13, 2017
Last modified: June 13, 2017

In an effort to ensure motorists and drivers stay as safe as possible during the I-4 Ultimate reconstruction project, the Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) team continues to try out some of the newest safety technology.

“It’s our responsibility to look at new technologies and be willing to test them,” said David Feise, who is Project Maintenance of Traffic Manager with SGL – the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane.

Among the most recent tested are traffic cone lights that flash in sequence and portable, wireless alarms systems. Both are part of the I-4 Ultimate team’s ongoing efforts to develop smart work zones.

The lighted traffic cones do not simply flash to make sure drivers see them; they actually blink in sequence from the first cone to the last and then repeat the first-to-last order. It helps drivers see that their lane is tapering toward a closure and they need to move over.

The lights can be attached to nearly any set of cones and are programmed. So, if cones are knocked over, then the remaining lights wirelessly resynch themselves using Bluetooth technology to keep them blinking in proper order.

While drivers may get numb to seeing the same lane-closure warnings, the blinking cone lights seem to have caught their attention. During a typical night, workers often find that three or four of the reflective cones have been knocked over. However, none of the blinking lighted cones had been hit during the first few weeks of use.

The worker alert system is another innovation undergoing testing. It seems simple to set up, yet very effective as part of a smart work zone.

An air-filled tube is stretched across the ground on the edge of a work zone. If a car or truck runs across the tube, then the unit alerts those in the work zone that a vehicle has veered out of the designated traffic lanes and may be endangering nearby crews. The wireless signal sets off portable alarms that emit loud sirens and bright flashing lights. Workers on the ground or those operating vehicles also can carry personal alarm devices that vibrate and flash during the alert.