Maine state police are working with the department of transportation to keep drivers advised. They have set up remote operated highway and roadway advisory signs.
They allow for real time communication with motorists. These signs will have messages and speed limits for current road conditions.
Maine State Police Troop F LT. John Cote, “It could be anything from localized weather hazards like white outs or black ice, could be they’re approaching a crash where maybe the state police had to close a lane of travel.”
It could also be the department of transportation that’s doing snow removal or any other operation. You may have noticed these signs between presque isle and caribou on route 1, an area that tends to get a lot of blowing and drifting snow.
MDOT Region 5 Manager Bob Watson, “In the winter time we’ve had accidents there in the past and winter conditions have actually forced us to close the road completely.”
LT. John Cote, “Transportation dispatchers have the way to view the cameras that are on many of those signs in live view, and make assessments based on vehicle speed and the conditions there.”
Law enforcement can do the same, and one of the important things they want drivers to know, is that it takes human element to activate and update these signs. That means the advisories will be taken down once the area they apply to, is clear.
Watson, “we’re in hopes that when these are on, that people will realize there’s something going on we’re not just putting them up at random but there will be a reason for having them on and people will pay attention to them.”
Lt. Cote says the speed limits and messages on the signs are enforceable by law. Meaning there can be consequences for violators.
LT. Cote, “the advisory speed limit signs are limited to I95 and of course troop F covers from Sherman – North, but throughout the state including here in Presque Isle and Caribou now you’re seeing more automated signs that are placed usually in an area where there’s frequent localized problems.”
The signs can be utilized for any message the DOT or Police want to get out. That includes amber alerts, stolen vehicles, and other information that needs to get the public immediately.
A great resource that State police and DOT officials recommend for the public is calling 511 for travel advisories. Another good one is a map on Maine.gov that gives up to date conditions using radar cameras. http://www.maine.gov/mdot/maps/radarlocales/index.php