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Signs to aid drivers in I-80 corridor

SPARKS – Help is on the way for Northern Nevadans trying to negotiate the fastest commute in the I-80 corridor through Reno and Sparks – and still follow the speed limit.

An 18-month-long construction project nearing completion includes a series of electronic message boards that give motorists a heads-up on the traffic jams ahead. Already in use on parts of U.S. Highway 395, the Dynamic Message Signs make it possible to post real-time estimates on travel time to upcoming exits.

Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said they’ve proved to be a great help alerting motorists in cases of major slowdowns or closures.

“Drivers don’t always know about a crash or incident on the freeway, and once they get beyond a certain point, they are stuck in traffic without many options,” Magruder told the Sparks Tribune.

“The advantage of these signs is they will be able to see slowdowns ahead of time and decide if they would rather exit right away. There is nothing more frustrating than wishing you knew there was a ton of traffic and missing an exit that could have saved you time,” he said.

The construction along I-80 is part of a $72 million project that began in April 2011 and is expected to continue through fall. In all, it covers a 22-mile stretch through the two towns from Robb Drive in west Reno to Vista Boulevard in east Sparks.

On Wednesday, traffic lanes from Keystone Avenue to Fourth Street were the latest to open after five months of onramp and offramp closures and lane widening.

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