More than 3 years after 11 people lost their lives in multi-vehicle pileups on a foggy and smoky Interstate 75 near Gainesville, transportation officials are finally adding and testing new signage to help prevent a similar tragedy.
In addition to the electronic signs, the Florida Department of Transportation has also installed poles on both U.S. 441 and I-75 which will hold a variety of technology including cameras for closed-circuit television as well as fog and weather sensors.
The city of Gainesville’s traffic operations center will monitor the cameras and sensors. As conditions warrant messages will be relayed to the electronic signs. The work was originally supposed to be completed in late spring.
The signage comes after series of accidents on January 29, 2012 which occured when smoke from a wildfire on Payne’s Prairie became mixed with fog reducing visibility to nearly zero. Eleven people died in the pileups and nearly two dozen were hospitalized.
Highway Patrol reacts to pressure on the agency since I-75 crashes
Aired on WUFT on February 1st, 2012
The Florida Highway Patrol has been under fire since Sunday’s multi-vehicle pileups on Interstate 75. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently investigating whether the highway patrol made the right decision to reopen I-75 after the roadway experienced periods of heavy smoke early that morning. In all eleven people died in the fiery crashes and nearly two dozen were taken to hospitals. Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Donna Green-Townsend talked with Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Pat Riordan about the latest on the accident investigation and the current mood of the officers who work for the patrol.