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FDOT considering using more in-road solar lights to deter wrong-way drivers at freeway exit ramps

Hillsborough MPO could use them on Tampa Bay roads
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Posted at 5:07 AM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 08:35:56-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Transportation is now considering using Internally Illuminated Reflective Pavement Markers (IIRPMs) as an additional countermeasure to deter wrong-way drivers from entering freeway off-ramps. This is in addition to the flashing signs that are already used.

FDOT recently approved the in-pavement solar lights as a product they can use. The state already used them at crosswalks, including the location along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Gomez Road, near St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

According to the manufacturer, LUX iiRPM, these can be used to help show the path of the road when traditional pavement markers aren't visible, like on this rural Florida road at dusk.

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Additionally, they can be used to help separate bike lanes and signify where sharp curves are in the road.

However, one of the big uses may be to help deter wrong-way drivers. At this freeway off-ramp in Miami, you can see how the in-road pavement lights glow red as an additional measure to alert a driver they are entering the wrong way.

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The Tampa Bay area has been the site of several recent deadly wrong-way crashes, including one that killed Tampa Police Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said they believe Madsen deliberately swerved into the path of a wrong-way driver to protect others on I-275. Madsen was laid to rest on Monday.

This comes as LUX IIRPM recently presented to the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization in Tampa. Planners said these can be a good way to help light up crosswalks that are difficult to see and they hope to use more of these on Tampa Bay roads.

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This crosswalk in Boca Raton, FL shows how in-road pavement markers can be used to alert drivers to a pedestrian crossing the street.

"These make a huge difference at night," said Wade Reynolds with the Hillsborough MPO at a recent meeting. "These really do help and it doesn't take that much light at night to really just light up that that crosswalk is there."

Tampa Bay transportation leaders are still assessing the cost of implementing these into county projects and looking to compare that with other measures to make roads and crosswalks safer.