EUGENE, Ore. — Drivers out on the road in Eugene on Wednesday may have noticed something different at a few of the city’s highway on-ramps. Adaptive ramp meters will now be directing traffic at four different locations. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) said they hope these recent additions will alleviate some of the congestion residents are so used to seeing.
The lights are currently set up at Coburg and Green Acres Road going onto Beltline westbound and River Road and River Avenue going onto Beltine eastbound.
ODOT Senior Transportation Planner Savannah Crawford said, “This is a low-cost, short-term improvement that we can do to help the operations on the Beltline Highway.”
ODOT said these new adaptive meters are meant to help reduce traffic delays, improve safety and decrease fuel consumption and air pollution during those peak travel times.
“It does that by breaking up platoons of vehicles. So when you have large numbers of vehicles entering the highway all at the same time, it has the tendency to cause traffic to slow down and cause crashes such as rear-ends and side-swipes,” said Julie Infante, ODOT Signal Operations Engineer.
Some drivers said they were skeptical at least about the initial start-up.
“I think at first it might not help out as much, because for people who haven’t gone to Portland or areas where they have them, it’s going to be a little confusing for them,” said Mandee Eagan, Eugene resident.
Fellow Eugenian Justin Yamashiro, “In the beginning, there might be a slight hiccup, because it is a slight change for others.”
But most people we spoke to and folks at nearby businesses said they’ve seen it work and it just takes time.
Sherry Deforest works at Willamette Valley Imaging located right next to the Green Acres Road on-ramp. She said, “They’re gonna have to have their patience hat on, because the light changes very quickly from green to red. I’m interested to see how people are going to adjust to having to wait.”
Craig Olson, the manager at Lube-It USA near the River Road on-ramp agreed. He said, “I think any new thing takes some getting used to and I think if people are just patient and let the process work, things will be just fine.”
ODOT wanted to remind drivers to make sure to form two lines as they drive up to the light. Motorists should also make sure to drive all the way up to the line to make sure they’re completely on the sensors to avoid getting stuck with a red light.