The Highways and Transportation Authority has begun installing the first four electronic road signs on the busy Baldorioty de Castro Avenue at a cost of $3.5 million, to inform drivers of road conditions and incidents starting later this year, this media outlet learned exclusively.
Two of the four massive towers are already up: One near the exit connecting Baldorioty de Castro highway, or PR-26, with Isla Verde Avenue and the marginal road from San Juan to Carolina, and the other near the Campo Rico exit from Carolina to San Juan.
Two more will be installed: On Route 66 from San Juan to Canóvanas and near the Roberto H. Todd exit near Miramar, said Lissette Lugo, director of the HTA’s traffic engineering division.
The signs should be lit by year’s end, possibly December, she confirmed.
“We want to provide general information on traffic, delays, alternate routes and alerts, as well as travel times so people can take alternate routes,” she said. “We placed the electronic road signs in strategic locations.”
The pilot program began with a request for proposals in 2017 to build out the project. The contract was awarded last year to Bonneville Contracting & Technology Group, she said.
Along with the towering electronic road signs — to be used for the first time in Puerto Rico — the project entails installing 25 cameras along Baldorioty de Castro, to monitor traffic on the stretch of road. That highway sees heavy traffic on most days, and is the connector to the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and area beaches.
The cameras will offer a different function to the ones already installed and operated by the Puerto Rico Police Department on that same road, Lugo confirmed.
The government agency will also seek to install devices along the road to calculate driving times, determine how busy the lanes are and identify the types of vehicles on that highway.
“If we detect something with the devices and the cameras, we can relay the appropriate message to the electronic signs,” Lugo said, adding the project is being paid with federal funds.
The length of the pilot phase will depend on how it flows, and may lead to implementing the same system on other areas, possibly PR-18 (Las Américas Highway,) PR-52 (Luis A. Ferré Highway,) and PR-30, she said.