NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, KNWA’s Katelynn Zoellner found out why electronic message signs were installed along Interstate 49 in Northwest Arkansas.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) installed eleven new electronic message signs along I-49 in Northwest Arkansas.
Here’s where the signs are located:
MM59.4: NB @ Fayetteville
MM68.2: SB and NB @ Johnson
MM74.1: SB @ Elm Springs Road
MM79.5: NB @ Pleasant Grove Road
MM88.9: NB and SB @ Little Flock
There are also two signs NB/SB I-49 at the Lowell Interchange and on each side of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel.
“The project to install them was a part of a resigning project from Interstate 40 in the Alma area up to the north side of Bentonville,” said Chad Adams, district engineer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. “So all of the signs on the I-49 corridor were replaced. These message boards were added as part of that project along with several cameras that have been installed. All of that has taken place over the last 15 months or so. They’re just now starting to wrap up things.”
The signs are operated by ArDOT’s traffic management center in Little Rock, which is staffed 24/7.
“While we do have IDrive Arkansas available, that is more of a use it before you leave kind of thing,” Adams said. “We do not necessarily want people using that on their smartphones as they are driving. This provides us the ability to communicate with them in real time as they travel.”
Adams said he encourages drivers to pay attention to the signs, as they’re there to increase your safety.
“Amber alerts or national safety campaigns like the click it or ticket or a work zone awareness type thing.” he said. “We also use it to provide real time information about road conditions, accidents or road closures. Part of our mission concerning the safety of the public is the performance of our highway system and this is just another tool that aids in that mission.”
ArDOT is investigating how to use the signs for real time travel estimates. No word on when that feature will be available.
If there is something in your community that you want to know more about, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@KNWA.com.