Emergency responders statewide are gaining more control over keeping people off highways and interstates that need to be closed.
Onramp gates are being installed statewide along entrances to state highways and the interstate system, as part of a broader effort to prevent people from getting on the roads where dangerous conditions exist.
Anne Reshadi with the state DOT says the gates are being put up in each region of the state as the opportunity presents itself, which is typically when road improvement projects are being done. Bids have ranged between $9,000 and $14,000 for the gates that most closely resemble those used at railroad crossings.
Reshadi says they’re preferable to just using standard roadblocks because they allow emergency responders to actually deal with the situation that’s forcing a road closure. A roadblock frequently requires a police officer to be left guarding a highway entrance because some motorists could try to get around it and create more problems for work crews trying to clear a scene.
Reshadi says the use of the ramp gates will help speed up the time it takes to clear up a problem, without having to worry about extra traffic.
Road closures typically only happen during emergencies involving major traffic crashes or winter storms.