Highway 1 in Fraser Valley now a variable speed-limit zone

THE Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Tuesday that variable speed limits are in operation on Highway 1 between the Sumas River Bridge in Abbotsford and the Prest Road overpass in Chilliwack to improve safety for drivers.

The speed limits on this section of highway are now adjusted based on real-time traffic and weather conditions.

The new traffic congestion-based system will adjust the speed limit to slow people down before traffic reaches a stop-and-go situation. The purpose is to calm and smooth out traffic to help reduce the high number of rear-end collisions caused by sudden changes in travel speed that occur on this busy section of Highway 1.

Two “gateway” dynamic messaging signs, one for each direction of travel on the highway, advise drivers they are entering the variable speed-limit corridor. These signs may also post road, weather or traffic-related information.

Along the corridor between the Sumas River Bridge and Prest Road overpass, the speed limit will be posted for drivers on more than 20 variable speed limit signs in each direction (on the shoulder and overhead).

Speed limits along this corridor are set based on data provided by traffic and road weather sensors installed along the highway. Traffic sensors are installed approximately every 500 metres to detect localized traffic conditions and collect traffic data. There are also multiple road/weather sensors that measure parameters, such as level of grip, visibility, temperature and surface status.

The speed limit and road conditions are monitored by ministry staff at the Transportation Management Centre of B.C. in Coquitlam.

Quick Facts

* The Highway 1 Abbotsford/Chilliwack variable speed limit system is the second of two systems for the Fraser Valley to help reduce crashes and keep people and goods moving safely and efficiently.

* In November 2019, a variable speed-limit system was implemented on Highway 3 between Hope and the Highway 3/5 junction.

* The total cost of implementing new variable speed limit systems on highways 1 and 3 is $25 million.