The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is moving forward with technology upgrades designed to improve safety and traffic flow on Interstate 64 over Afton Mountain.

This section of the I-64 corridor has a higher than average traffic crash rate related to fog or wind, including several large multivehicle accidents. The Active Traffic and Safety management System (ATSMS) project ($4.6 million) is badly needed to help mitigate frequency and severity of crashes related to adverse weather conditions within the corridor, VDOT says, and states with similar problems should take note.

The I-64 Afton ATSMS includes numerous improvements:
A network of Dynamic Message Signs to keep drivers informed of changing traffic and weather conditions.
Additional traffic cameras that will allow complete surveillance of the corridor by the Staunton Traffic Operations Center, which provides real-time information to drivers through the 511 Virginia system.
Visibility detection sensors to improve the response and performance of the existing fog-light system.
Fiber-optics infrastructure that will support future development of variable speed limits based on weather and traffic conditions.

Keeping drivers informed of road and weather conditions is a key component of the ATSMS project. Dynamic Message Signs will communicate information received by the Staunton Traffic Operations Center from the visibility detection sensors, traffic cameras and traffic detection sensors. All of these systems aggregate atmospheric and roadway surface condition information as well as traffic speed and volumes. VDOT will be responsible for operating and maintaining the system.

Other key stakeholders in the project will include the Virginia State Police, as well as multiple city and county law enforcement and emergency response agencies that respond to incidents occurring along the corridor.

By supplementing existing operations technologies on Afton Mountain, TOC operators will have improved traffic incident management and information sharing capabilities. Drivers will have an improved driving and decision making experience to help achieve lower crash rates along this portion of the I-64 corridor, making the road safer for all who use it.

Throughout Virginia VDOT is improving corridor operations with similar ATSMS projects. Other projects are in Northern Virginia on Interstate 66 and a proposed project on Interstate 77 in Carroll County in Southwest Virginia.

Construction on the I-64 Afton ATSMS project is scheduled to begin in early 2014.