A new Active Traffic Management strategy called Hard Shoulder Running (HSR) is planned for the I-670 and I-270 corridor in Columbus. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) HSR pilot project is aimed at improving traffic flow in this area during the afternoon peak hours. B&N is leading a team to design and implement the HSR and additional modifications to the existing interchange.
Hard Shoulder Running
HSR uses the shoulder to provide an additional lane during peak travel hours. This approach is less expensive than other options, such as road widening, because it uses the existing roadway infrastructure. Currently, there are only 10 active HSR corridors in the United States.
The ODOT HSR pilot project area includes six miles of I-670 that connect downtown Columbus to the I-270 outerbelt. The left shoulder on this section of I-670 will be converted for use during the PM Peak traffic period. It will remain open during this fixed period of operation each day and will revert back to its normal function outside of the established hours.
Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technology, including Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) and Closed Circuit TVs, will be used to communicate with the Traffic Management Center (TMC). The TMC personnel will monitor the HSR system, including DMS messages, to inform motorists of changes in lane usage and variable speed limits. This will help harmonize the speeds across all lanes to improve traffic flow and safety.
Before the capacity improvements from the HSR can be fully realized, modifications must be made to fix the current bottleneck on I-670 at I-270. The weave segment along I-270 north, immediately north of the interchange, operates poorly and causes traffic to back up into the interchange and the I-670 corridor. To resolve this, problematic weaving movements will be eliminated by braiding critical ramps in the interchange which will help improve traffic flow and safety issues.
The modifications also will include a new lane through the center of the interchange that begins where the HSR lane ends. By adding this lane, drivers in the HSR lane will not be forced to merge into the general purpose lane and traffic will flow freely into the interchange.