CLE ELUM – Are we there yet? The days of wondering how long it’s going to take to reach Snoqualmie Pass are now over. Today, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) officially unveiled three electronic signs on Interstate 90 for real-time travel time between North Bend and Ellensburg.
“Construction, collisions and holiday congestion can all catch drivers off guard and turn their best estimate for travel time into a major miscalculation,” said Corey Hert, WSDOT assistant traffic engineer. “The travel time signs help drivers make better decisions on whether they need to make a rest stop, get some fuel or keep going.”
The travel times displayed on the signs are being provided by INRIX Inc. of Kirkland, Wash., a contracted provider of real-time traffic information. WSDOT uses this information to broadcast travel times on signs near North Bend, Cle Elum and Ellensburg. Later this summer, information from 28 roadway sensors that count vehicles and detect speed will feed the data stream to populate flow maps and provide even more accurate travel times along the I-90 corridor.
This $850,000 construction project also replaces a 20-year-old communication system that communicates remotely with 50 variable message signs, highway advisory radios and weather stations that provide driver information over the pass.
Later this summer, travelers will be able to link to new traffic flow maps on our What’s Happening on I-90 Web page, as well as our Travel Alerts and the Snoqualmie Mountain Pass pages. The flow maps will use colors to indicate travel and congestion levels on I-90 from North Bend to Ellensburg as light, moderate, heavy or stop-and-go traffic, in the same way Puget Sound area travel maps show traffic flow.