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Wi–Fi expansion creates concerns

BY SCOTT SHENK

IS IT POSSIBLE that we have a technology battle on our hands?

The transportation industry is a bit nervous that plans for a nationwide Wi–Fi expansion could threaten its highly touted vehicle-to-vehicle technology, according to a story in the American Journal of Transportation last week.

The FCC recently announced its plans for expansion of the Wi–Fi network, and those plans could open the “band” currently used for vehicle-to-vehicle technology to Wi–Fi users.

That move could disrupt vehicle communication, a technology considered by many as a way to drastically cut down on crashes.

Any decisions won’t be made for a while, but it’s a situation worth following.

Dear Scott: There is a problem at the intersection of southbound U.S. 17 and Sanford Drive.

Traffic in the right lane on 17 south exiting onto Interstate 95 south is often backed up (and then there are the ones that block the intersection!).

Because of this backup, vehicles turning right from Sanford Drive are unable to go anywhere. If that right lane on 17 is backed up, no one moves!

Sanford Drive is three lanes at the intersection, one turning left, one going straight and one turning right.

Is there a way that the lane going straight could be made to also turn right? That way vehicles trying to get on 17 (but not on 95) could get through the intersection.

I’ve often seen people make a right turn from the middle lane, even though it is not marked that way.

—Jeannette Lufsey ,

King George

The Virginia Department of Transportation has been eyeing this intersection for years.

It’s a problem spot because you have Sanford Drive and South Gateway Drive feeding into U.S. 17, all near the Interstate 95 exit ramp.

It’s a tough spot to handle and the highway department is looking at several ways of making it better.

VDOT’s Kelly Hannon said they agree that drivers “would benefit from dual right turn lanes” at Sanford Drive. Engineers are looking at creating a second right lane by combining the left and through lane. VDOT also is considering a “triple left turn lane exiting from South Gateway Drive,” Hannon said.

VDOT will have to do some analyses of the signal structures to see if they can handle additional signs and lights that would be needed to make the changes.

If these additions can be made, Hannon said VDOT might be able to do the work in late 2013. But, as with all transportation projects, the money will have to be made available.

VDOT also has adjusted the signal timing at the intersection so vehicles pulling from these side roads don’t have to wait as long.

But U.S. 17 traffic flow is paramount, and VDOT realizes the real fix will likely have to come in the form of “additional capacity for vehicles to wait in turn lanes, so more vehicles can exit on each cycle.”

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

 

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