US 195 - Ramp Meter

Project news

Traffic is moving more smoothly west of Spokane with the help of a new ramp meter to manage the flow of vehicles merging onto eastbound I-90 from US 195. The new ramp meter became  operational April 9. Drivers can anticipate slight delays as the ramp meter regulates traffic flow onto eastbound I-90. Hours of operation are weekdays 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and during the evening 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) activated the new ramp meter at this interchange where traffic routinely slows to a crawl during the morning and afternoon commutes and is prone to collisions and “close calls”.  

“Ramp meters are a proven, cost-effective approach to reducing freeway congestion and collisions, and provide drivers a better, more reliable trip,” said WSDOT Assistant Secretary of Regions & Mega Projects Kevin Dayton.

The ramp meter is located on US 195 approximately 700 feet south of the I-90 merge area.  This ramp meter is the first of six ramp meters along the I-90 corridor. WSDOT previously installed and activated meters at a variety of locations along I-5 and I-405 on the west side of the state.  NE 44th St on I-405 looks similar to what would be expected on US 195 at I-90.

For additional information on ramp meters, visit Ramp Meter Q & A

Needs & Benefits

Ramp meters are traffic signals that operate according to real-time conditions on both the freeway and the ramps. They help reduce congestion by providing timed intervals between vehicles, rather than allowing multiple vehicles to enter the freeway at once. Studies show that ramp meters reduce collisions by up to 30 percent.

Using the US 195 Ramp Meter
The US 195 northbound to eastbound I-90 was a single lane ramp. Prior to the ramp meter turning on, drivers see a sign that states “Ramp Metered Ahead When Flashing”. When flashing, the ramp becomes a two-lane ramp and drivers form two lanes as indicated by the sign “Form 2 Lanes When Metered”. Drivers pull forward up to the white line, or stop bar, to trigger the ramp meter. If the light is red in a driver's lane, they stop at the white line. When the light turns green, the driver accelerates and merges onto the freeway. Drivers are released one car per lane by alternating lanes on the green light. WSDOT chose this ramp meter configuration in order to store vehicles and release a higher volume of vehicles per hour when the ramp is metered.

Timeline

The ramp meter became operational April 9.

Funding

The cost of this project is approximately $540,000. The new ramp meter is part of a federally funded project specifically designed to help alleviate crashes along the I-90 corridor by installing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) tools to better manage traffic. More information on how this project derived can be found on the I-90 - Four Lakes to Idaho - Operational Study page.

Contact

Glenn Wagemann
Traffic Engineer, Eastern Region
509-324-6550

Map showing location of ramp meter on US 195 at I-90