ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They’re supposed to help drivers avoid back-ups on the freeway — massive electronic signs that warn of lane closures, severe weather and accidents. Soon, drivers in Albuquerque will have even more warning before getting on a clogged Interstate.
The Department of Transportation calls them “DMS’s” — or Dynamic Message Signs. There’s DMS’s all along I-25 and I-40 in Albuquerque and across New Mexico, but there’s also about 20 DMS’s on Albuquerque streets that warn drivers of issues before they even get to the freeway.
KRQE News 13 has learned there’s about to be 13 more of those, increasing the total number to 33.
“In a lot of ways, knowing something goes a long way to alleviate driver frustration,” Charles Remkes, DOT Chief of Intelligent Transportation Systems.
Remkes works in what looks like a cartoon depiction of the inside of a brain: A dark room filled with dozens of video screens streaming DOT cameras in real-time. He oversees the people who work inside this room, who control the messages on the DMS’s by gathering data from the cameras, road assistance crews and local authorities.
“What we’re trying to do with these arterial installations is to advise motorists of what’s going on on the freeways before they make the decision to enter or not,” Remkes explained.
The signs are already installed at places like west and eastbound Louisiana, Wyoming and San Mateo approaching I-40. Now there will be signs at westbound San Mateo, eastbound Montano and eastbound Lomas approaching I-25, to name a few.
They will be installed, “where a driver can have a safe exit or safe access point to alternative routes or alternative plans,” he said.
“We’re just trying to give folks an option.”
The signs come at a cost of $100,000 to $300,000 each, Remkes said.
The DOT expects all 13 to be installed by the start of 2017.