'Smart freeway' tech planned to improve traffic flow on 15 Freeway near Temecula

Rob McMillan Image
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
'Smart freeway' aims to improve traffic flow on 15 Fwy in IE
Some high-tech solutions are underway to help unsnarl a section of Interstate 15 through Temecula that seems perpetually congested.

TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- Riverside County transportation officials are hoping an upcoming project will improve a stretch of Interstate 15 through Temecula that seems perpetually snarled by traffic.

"It gets gridlocked almost any time of day," said Aaron Hake, deputy executive director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission. "Not only do you have the commute coming back from San Diego, but you also have a lot of local residents here just trying to get around the Temecula - Murrieta area.

"They're merging, they're weaving, and just trying to get on the 215. And all of those actions have the effect of slowing traffic down and producing the opportunity for collisions."

Hake said the proposed project won't involve years of construction on a massive widening project, but rather the use of integrated technology into the freeway itself.

Call it, if you will, a "smart" freeway.

"We're trying to find a solution that doesn't involve hundreds of millions of dollars and years of study - that is done at a fraction of the cost."

Hake said changes will be made to three northbound onramps; at Temecula Parkway, Rancho California Road and Winchester Road. The changes will synchronize the signal lights at the onramps with information provided by sensors analyzing the speed and flow of traffic on the freeway.

"Having the onramps on the northbound I-15 talk to the freeway itself," said Hake. "So that as congestion is building on the freeway, the ramps are adjusting. So that we're releasing the right amount of cars on the freeway to keep everything flowing."

Hake said there will also be signals at one of the onramps that will alert drivers as to when it's allowable to use the shoulder for travel.

"We're going to open up the shoulder sometimes, and there will be indicators on the ramp saying it's OK to use the shoulder. That will allow more cars to get cued up when it's time to go."

With construction starting this summer, the project is anticipated to cost about $25 million.