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I-80 Smart Corridor Project Finished, Activated To Ease Congestion

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) -- Flashy signs and metering lights are the new norm for commuters on one of the busiest vehicular corridors in the Bay Area.

The changes are designed to keep traffic moving on a 20-mile stretch of Interstate Highway 80 from the Carquinez Bridge in the north to the Bay Bridge in the south.

Caltrans started phasing the project in back in July but it was only fully, and officially, activated on Monday.

The Smart Corridor project cost $79 million and includes 159 electronic signs mounted on 11 structures over the roadway.

Sean Nozzari, with Caltrans traffic operations, says "with the project we have shaved 3 to 5 minutes from delays during peak periods"

Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty said, "This is the most advanced component deployed today..."

How it works is simple. Green arrows over your lane mean you're good to go, a yellow X over your lane means there's a problem ahead and you need to move lanes. A red X means a crash is blocking the lane and you need to move lanes.

The red X was activated on Monday when a semi-truck on fire backed up several lanes along I-80 in Berkeley.

Berkeley resident Ariane Zard said, the new signs are "fantastic."

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is ranked one of the 10 worst commutes in the state, with an average of 25 lane-blocking collisions each week.

A lot of it has to do with secondary collisions, which often happens when there is a long backup after a first crash.

The Smart corridor project is designed to reduce secondary accidents, according to Caltrans officials.

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