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Case Study



Explore CDOT's Use of Dual-Speed, Full-Color, Variable Speed Limit Signs to Reduce Accidents in Glenwood Canyon Corridor

Mountain road conditions can change in the blink of an eye. During the summer, a sudden downpour can generate mudslides or even deposit giant boulders onto the roadway. Rain can turn to ice, and blizzard conditions can hit with little notice. Those road conditions – along with maintenance activities and construction – can delay traffic and cause accidents.

A 2011 CDOT speed study revealed that traffic throughout the Glenwood Canyon Corridor demonstrated a speed differential of approximately 10 mph between passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. Considering the grades and curves through Glenwood Canyon, CDOT determined 50 mph as a safe speed for commercial vehicles greater than 26,000 GVWR and 60 mph for cars. When there is an accident, adverse weather conditions, or construction, CDOT lowers the speed limits, keeping passenger and commercial vehicle speed limits the same.

CDOT Project Goals

  • Warn drivers of adverse conditions, thus generating a safer traffic flow to decrease accidents in the canyon.
  • Increase the standard speed limit during suitable conditions to 60 mph compared to 50 mph in most areas of the canyon.
  • Lower the speed limit to assist with incident management, conditions created by inclement weather, or maintenance and construction.

Customized Solution

  • Installation of:
    • 17 new Skyline Products LED full-color, dual speed, variable speed limit signs
    • Three weather stations for live monitoring and reporting of weather conditions
    • 73 standard static signs
    • Nine closed-circuit cameras for live monitoring and viewing of roadway conditions
  • Replacement of five single variable speed limit signs
  • Removal of 38 existing static signs
  • Addition of other surface and subsurface conduit and related improvements to guide the display of the variable speed limit limits

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