The SR 279 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) system in Pittsburgh uses reversible lanes. Those lanes, owned and operated by PennDOT, are located in the median and extend 4.1 miles between the city of Pittsburgh and the North Hills. The lanes are open inbound from Monday to Friday between 6:00am and 10:00am, and open outbound on the weekend and from Monday to Friday between 3:00pm and 5:00am. The lanes are closed between 10:00am and 3:00pm. Signs and gates, controlled from the district Traffic Management Center, are used to open and close inbound and outbound entrance and exit ramps as appropriate.
This project is an HOV ITS system upgrade, which is part of a $88 million rehabilitation project covering 9 miles of SR 279. The ITS system upgrade includes the replacement of all gates controlling the access points. Versilis was identified as the preferred supplier for the vertical and horizontal gates.
Safety is the number one priority for all reversible lane operators. Key safety requirements for such application include:
A series of Versilis’ horizontal warning gates HSG-18CW were installed to control the high speed slip ramp access points. HSG-18CW gates are crash tested to NCHRP-350 requirements. The gates offer an increased surface of retro-reflective sheeting and include a large sign with synchronized LED lights. The gate’s small footprint was a definite advantage at this specific location as it allowed the client to use existing barrier infrastructure and mount the gates directly on top. Each gate also includes its own internal battery backup and can be operated for numerous openings and closings during power outages. Two vertical warning gates VSG-40 were installed to complete the closure at that location.
More vertical warning gates VSG-40 were installed at various low speed access points. Again, those gates provided an important visibility advantage.
All gates are controlled from the district Traffic Traffic Management Center. The ITS system also includes signs, cameras and an automated interlock system.