High-tech tools help VTrans track road conditions - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

High-tech tools help VTrans track road conditions

Posted: Updated:
MONTPELIER, Vt. -

It is VTrans' version of air traffic control during a storm. They track everything out of this room in Montpelier. Whether it is the road conditions, the science behind those road conditions and even what they put on those message boards that they alert drivers about.

"We have about 50 message boards, most on Interstate 91, 89, few on secondary roads, Route 4, Route 2," explained Larry Dodge, a communications specialist for VTrans.

Dodge is the point person for those real-time messages during a storm.

"Tonight they'll all be on," Dodge said.

He is also updating the 511 website and the conditions at each camera that you can click on.

"This is a shot of the Brookfield RWIS station," he said.

RWIS stands for road weather information stations.

Mark Gerrish, a project manager with VTrans, takes us through what each RWIS includes. The radar drone measures vehicle speed, vehicle classification and traffic volumes.

"These are non-invasive pavement sensors," Gerrish said.

The small one measures the temperature of the pavement.

"This represents the pavement temperature. You can see that it's already dropping in this time frame," Gerrish said.

The big one tells how much grip there is on the road.

"As our crews go through and they treat, either plow or put down treatment, you'll see that grip will start to come back up. This allows us to monitor the effect of our treatment," Gerrish explained.

"A garage foreman can look at his computer screen, see what the road temperature is, see what the air temperature is, even look visually at the road via the cameras and get a feel for whether he needs to send people out without driving out there himself," said Scott Rogers, the operations director for VTrans.

Our cameras were rolling as a car was clocked going 80 mph in a storm.

"The big thing for me is vehicle speeds," Rogers said. "Anecdotally as we all drive around the state we know that people drive too fast during storms; we see them off in the ditch and you know thousands of other people drove through just fine. If you're driving too fast, you're going to have issues. Now we can actually see the numbers and see how many people are driving too fast and that's concerning to me from a safety standpoint."

He says figuring out how to use the data to drive home that message is still a challenge they are figuring out.

Once a storm starts, this is an around-the-clock operation. This room will be manned 24-hours until the storm passes, and that's to make sure everyone gets where they need to go safely.

Vermont started installing the road weather information stations 10 years ago. The technology has evolved through the years. For instance, there used to a device that looked like a hockey puck in the road to measure temperature, but now, they infrared beams to do that and get more accurate results.

Click here to see the VTrans road cameras.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:43:47 GMT
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:04 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
  • Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:21 GMT
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
  • A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:36 GMT
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
  • Gun fired into New Haven home

    Gun fired into New Haven home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:48 GMT
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
  • What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:57:35 GMT
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
  • Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in connection with a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
  • Convicted Vt. embezzler charged with stealing from employer

    Convicted Vt. embezzler charged with stealing from employer

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:24:36 GMT
    Nearly two decades after her first conviction, a white-collar criminal returns to court once again charged with stealing from her employer. More >>
    Nearly two decades after her first conviction, a white-collar criminal returns to court once again charged with stealing from her employer.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.