All the speed limit signs on Interstate 80, from the mouth of Parley’s Canyon to the Jeremy Ranch area will be replaced by LED signs that will adjust from 35 to 65 miles an hour.
The idea is to keep a consistent flow when the weather goes south and put the brakes on dangerous driving habits.
As a Park City resident, Tom Con is no stranger to I-80. In fact his wife commutes to Salt Lake City for work, so he knows just how treacherous the interstate can turn when storms hit.
"It can get very nasty, visibility can get down to almost nothing," says Con.
That's why U-DOT is implementing a new strategy for part of I-80, known as a variable speed limit.
"This will be an enforceable speed limit, so as weather conditions dictate and as input we take at the Traffic Operations Center dictate we will vary the speed limit during weather events," says U-DOT Traffic Operations Engineer, Robert Miles.
Information will be gathered from U-DOT meteorologists, road cameras and sensors and even troopers and plow drivers on the road. All to determine a safe driving speed, 65 on a normal day, all the way down to 35.
"When snow is on the road, maybe it's slick conditions, that's when you would see the 35," says Miles.
The purpose is simple, to give drivers clear direction on a safe speed for the current conditions. Hoping to avoid one of the most dangerous situations on the road, when some drivers slow down and others don't at all.
"We want everyone to be going the same speed, whether that's 65 or 35 and this system will help us provide feedback to the drivers on where they should be driving at, given the weather conditions," says Miles.
Con says he certainly sees the safety value of the variable speed limit.
"I most definitely think that in those conditions the speed should be controlled, so yes in general I think it's a good idea," says Con.
On the other hand, he hopes it isn't taken too far.
"Sometimes it's used as a speed trap."
The new signs will be in place and the variable speed limit will be implemented in October. If it goes well we can expect to see the program pop up in other parts of the state as well.