Blinking lights alert wrong-way drivers along Ohio highway - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Blinking lights alert wrong-way drivers along Ohio highway

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CINCINNATI, Ohio -

Over the past two decades, 82 percent of Ohio's wrong-way crashes have occurred in Mahoning, Trumbull and 15 other counties that have a high number of highway interchanges.

The Ohio Department of Transportation says it has been targeting highway ramps in those counties with additional signs, reflectivity, and striping.

Now the state has installed a first-of-its-kind system to detect and deter wrong-way drivers along an 18-mile stretch of I-71 in Hamilton County.

It includes 92 electronic signs and 82 detection devices at 23 locations from downtown Cincinnati to Fields-Ertel Road.

When the system is activated, LED lights around the edge of several "wrong way" and "do not enter" signs begin blinking. An alert is also sent to the Ohio Department of Transportation Traffic Management Center in Columbus.

While wrong-way crashes made up only 0.01 percent of all accidents in Ohio last year, they are 40 times more likely to be deadly.

"This section of I-71 was selected using criteria that includes 911 calls, wrong-way and alcohol crashes, the number of alcohol establishments located within close proximity, and ramp traffic volumes," said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

This is the first time these detection devices have been installed as a system in the state of Ohio. Two other stand-alone devices, one on the exit from westbound I-670 to Neil Avenue in Columbus and the other on the exit from westbound SR-2 to West 28th Street in Cleveland, have been pilot tested with positive results.

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