MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Commuters take note: traffic lights are coming to the entrance ramps to I-270.
The lights are a new move by state officials to try to control the traffic flow onto the highway and ease some of the congestion during rush hour.
The lights – which are technically called "ramp meters" will have the ability to put the brakes on merging traffic.
The first one is slated for 118 Germantown Rd. and Southbound 270 on Wednesday. Initially it will flash to alert drivers of the change, then next week it will be fully operational for a a one week test run.
The system will use sensors that detect traffic conditions in real time, and then activate the traffic signals when needed to control how vehicles merge onto I-270.
After the test period, the signal will be turned off until the entire southbound system is activated later this year.
The northbound system is expected to be implemented next year.
In total, there will be 45 meters on entrance ramps along the interstate by the end of 2022.
Opponents say the lights will create backups on the side roads, but AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend says it’s a good idea.'
He tells FOX 5, "It’s the first time this is being used in Maryland so you will have a learning curve but those people who have lived in the Washington metro area for a long time have used them on I-66 and I-395 for years. The systems went into place back in 1982 and there was controversy about it then, people saying it’s not going to solve the problem but it did improve the commute, especially for those using the HOV lanes and this will improve the commute on I-270 too."
In other systems across the country, the sensors detect when traffic backs up on the side roads and trigger a green light if the line gets too long.
MDOT is expected to release more details on Tuesday.
The ramp meters are separate from future plans to add HOT lanes to I-270.