MDOT installing new flashing lights to alert wrong way drivers

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Transportation is getting ready to add red flashing lights to a few of its road signs in West Michigan. MDOT Spokesman Nick Schirippa said they’re installing a “wrong way detection system” to alert drivers that they might be driving onto an off ramp.

“It’s a series of cameras and lights, some conduit, all kinds of things to help detect those wrong-way vehicles,” said Schirripa during an interview at the MDOT office. “It looks like you just walked into an amusement park, and there’s all kinds of things that tell you ‘wrong way.’”

Schrippa said MDOT plans to install the red flashing lights at four locations: two on U.S. 131 at the Wealthy Street and Hall Street ramps, one on I-94 in Jackson, and one at the Dickman Road ramps on I-194 in Battle Creek.

“(The locations) were all identified because of crash history,” said Schirripa. “Let’s give it a go. If it stops one of these crashes from happening, then it’s worth it.”

Wrong-way crashes do not happen often, he said. But the systems, called TAPCO and Trafficalm, have been successful in other areas. The hope is that the installations will make roads safer in Michigan.

“While we can’t prevent people from making that turn onto an off-ramp to go the wrong way on a freeway, we'll certainly alert them to that decision,” Schirripa said. “We do what we can, but ultimately it rests on motorists operate their vehicles in a safe manner.”

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3 comments

  • Tom

    “While we can’t prevent people from making that turn onto an off-ramp to go the wrong way on a freeway,…”

    Yes we can, quit making the world more idiot proof. Fix the actual problem instead of letting it continue.

  • Mac Woods

    Hey Nick? What is the grand total of “wrong way” incidents? Let’s put that number up against the multiple millions of correct use. Over the past 50 years, the number of “wrong way” incidents vs correct entry, has to be so infinitesimally small as to be a statistical anomaly. In other words, an absurd use of taxpayers money. But hey, just in time for Christmas.