Traffic & Transportation

You can’t miss it: Oregon Department of Transportation puts up new speed signs

The smart speed limit signs will change the speed limit depending on weather conditions or traffic, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The smart speed limit signs will change the speed limit depending on weather conditions or traffic, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

On your next trip through Oregon, you’ll probably notice new high-tech speed signs.

The physical signs have been up since the summer, but now they’re prepared for a new feature: displaying variable speed limits, according to an Oregon Department of Transportation press release.

The new signs, hoisted up along a 30-mile stretch on Interstate 84 between Baker City and La Grande, will adjust the legal speed limit depending on weather, traffic and road conditions, according to the release.

“The section of freeway between Baker City and La Grande is positioned between the Eagle Cap and Elkhorn mountain ranges,” said Ken Patterson, ODOT area manager in the release. “This often creates microclimates with more severe weather patterns than adjacent sections of freeway.”

The variable speed limits are designed to help drivers be safer in hazardous conditions, according to the release.

“The idea behind these new signs is to warn motorists ahead of hazardous road conditions and get them to slow down before they enter a potentially dangerous situation,” Patterson said in the release.

Sensors hooked up to the road will take in data to inform the sign, but ODOT staffers also will have control over the speed limit and will be able to manually adjust speed limits, according to the release.

“The idea behind these new signs is to warn motorists ahead of hazardous road conditions and get them to slow down before they enter a potentially dangerous situation,” Patterson said in the release.

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