Drivers warned about summer tests of new electronic signs along westbound I-80

Person shot on westbound I-80 in San Pablo Thursday afternoon

Drivers are being warned about intermittent testing this summer of the new digital overhead signs along westbound Interstate Highway 80 between Richmond and Emeryville.

The signs, part of the I-80 SMART Corridor Project, will be tested “intermittently through the summer, and will take place when traffic volumes are lowest,”  project officials said in this statement.

“Motorists traveling the corridor during these times may see the word ‘TEST’ displayed on overhead signs to warn motorists that electronic signs are being tested,” the project statement says. “Other symbols and numbers may be momentarily visible as well, such as green arrows, yellow arrows, red X’s, checkerboard patterns or electronic speed limit signs displaying various numbers. Motorists will be notified of testing by changeable message signs at the side of the roadway. Roadside electronic speed limit signs are also being tested.”

As we explained earlier this year, the electronic signs are part of a $79 million project aiming to relieve congestion on the corridor from the Carquinez Bridge to the Bay Bridge, using an integrated network of electronic signage controlled in a central location at the Caltrans Traffic Management Center in Oakland. The project includes installing electronic signs along the highway and on local streets (including San Pablo Avenue) that feature traffic information including incidents, travel times and detour details, as well as ramp meters on 44 on-ramps.

While the project has faced criticism, the folks behind the project call it a viable solution to easing a roadway shared by 270,000 vehicles per day. Here’s a video that sums up the project: