New Technology Helps Motorists Experience The Beasley Bluffs Safely
December 18, 2012
Nelson Daily - Motorists driving a stretch of dangerous Highway 3A west of Nelson, known as the Beasley bluffs, will be thankful for new technology that will warn motorists of poor road conditions said Hugh Eberle, District Operations Manager 
for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Ministry staff are in the process of erecting signs — in Taghum to the east of the bluffs and to the west near the Beasley Fire Hall — that will feed information from a weather station that monitors road surface conditions.

The information on the signs will warn motorists of unexpected icy conditions on that section of highway.

“Because the road and weather conditions in the Beasley Bluffs area can be dramatically different than the surrounding area, the installation of these signs will assist motorists in adjusting their driving behavior according to the road conditions,” Eberle explained in a statement.

Eberle said the technology is already in use at Kennedy Lake, on Highway 4 near Tofino on Vancouver Island and on the TransCanada Highway at the Quartz Creek Bridge west of Golden This installation at Kennedy Lake drew North America-wide attention in Transportation circles in 2011. 

“What makes these sign systems so incredible is that the technology can automatically determine when ice forms on the road surface and immediately transfer this data to the sign display giving instantaneous information to motorists,” Eberle said.

“A ministry weather station located between the changeable message signs collects and measures data using electronic sensors that gauge air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, snow depth, pavement temperatures and pavement condition.”

“Once the information is gathered, the station’s data logger analyzes it, and uses wireless communication to update the messages on the signs,” Eberle added.

The new technology can detect ice crystals forming on the highway, which transfers as warning message to both signs “Slippery Sections Use Caution”.

The new system was built through a funding partnership between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and ICBC, and involved ministry staff and Westcana Electrical.

FortisBC and Nelson Hydro are also involved to connect the power while Maglio Industries of Nelson installed the cement footings for the signs.