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A proposed $7 million safety project in Carroll County for 12 miles of Interstate 77 from the North Carolina line may not be the best solution to the road problems.
If there is low percentage of adherence to signage, then the project would be a waste of money.
I believe that any kind of squad cars running with traffic in dangerous weather, or at any other time, would be more effective.
However, it would be impossible to shift VDOT budget money into highway patrol, but consider these calculations.
Assume that a patrol vehicle with driver can be operated for $100 per hour, and then $7 million buys 70,000 hours of patrol.
Assume a seven-hour shift day, and then 10,000 shift days. With two cars on patrol, that’s 5,000 days.
If the two patrols are assigned for 100 days per year, which is more that the annual days of dangerous weather or traffic congestion, then the $7 million pays for 50 years of patrol by two assigned cars for that stretch of roadway.
The point of argument is that flashing blue lights running with traffic would be more effective at reducing speeds and preventing and responding to accidents.
Compensated flashing rescue vehicles at prepositioned locations could provide warning and readiness to serve.
What is needed is a pilot program to guide thinking outside of the box.
How effective is signage and patrolling on the fog-shrouded New Jersey Turnpike? Let’s fund and beef up state and county patrolling and study the overall effectiveness of human interaction “at the point of contact” before investing in more electronic message boards, “pan-tilt-zoom” cameras and highway observation command centers.