Variable speed limit systems are being installed on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack. (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Variable speed system between Chilliwack and Abbotsford won’t be ready until winter

Construction almost complete but six months of data and testing needed for first such system in B.C.

Construction on the variable speed system on Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Abbotsford is expected to wrap up by August, but drivers won’t see the digital signs working until winter.

The digital signs will show a varying speed limit on signs installed between the Sumas River Bridge and Prest Road overpass, depending on congestion. It’s hoped the system will cut down on the large number of rear-enders in the heavily travelled corridor.

The project – which also includes seven kilometres of similar signs near Hope – has a $25 million price tag.

RELATED: Variable speed limits system coming to Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

RELATED: Highway crashes double in Fraser Valley, truck traffic also up steeply

When the project was announced last year, the province expected the system to be up and running by this summer.

But although the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure expects construction to be complete by August, the system now isn’t expected to be operational until the winter.

Instead, the ministry will spend about six months collecting data. That information will be used to “refine the system, as the congestion-based variable speed technology is brand new to B.C.,” according to an email from a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure spokesperson. The signs won’t be active during that testing phase.

The idea behind the systems is to lower the speed limit to slow vehicles down before traffic reaches a stop-and-go situation, helping to reduce the number of collisions that occur when drivers do not notice vehicles that have stopped on the highway.

The Ministry’s numbers show traffic on the Highway 1 corridor increased by 16 per cent between 2013 and 2017, as counted just west of Vedder Road in Chilliwack.

But over that same period, accidents have gone from 720 to 1,100 per year, an increase of 52 per cent.

-with files from Paul Henderson


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford Hospital COVID-19 outbreak over, a new one reported at business

New World Technologies is site of ‘very small’ outbreak, says Dr. Bonnie Henry

Solidarity demonstration planned for Abbotsford on Friday

People gathering to protest police brutality and systemic racism in downtown Abbotsford

Fraser River freshet peak is coming soon

Predictions for 2020 by River Forecast Centre has the freshet peak at the Mission gauge for June 4-5

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

Chilliwack youth planning solidarity march against racism

Organizer hoping to ‘create a type of a energy in the city that we will not be silent about racism’

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read