Oregon Department of Transportation deploys black tubes across roadways in numerous locations

Have you noticed the small black tubes crossing Highway 99W, Highway 219, Springbrook Road and other thoroughfares of late?

State traffic engineers have deployed the tube, a type of sensor, to log the number and time of day that a vehicle crosses over.

The sensors can also determine the classification of vehicle -- a passenger car, truck or motorcycle, for example -- and the speed that the vehicles are traveling.

Ultimately, the exercise is designed to gauge the impact and effectiveness of the Newberg-Dundee bypass, opened in January.

"ODOT continues to monitor traffic movements around the bypass," Louis Torres, public affairs specialists for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said. "It will take at least a year or so after the bypass opening to really get a good picture of how the new road is influencing driver behavior. We plan to continue working with the cities of Newberg and Dundee and Yamhill County on these issues."

ODOT placed the sensors in different places to understand the traffic patterns following the opening of the bypass.

Now that the bypass is operational, more traffic is using it and less traffic is plying Highway 99W.

However, traffic has increased on Springbrook Road, reconfigured to feed traffic from Highway 99W onto the bypass, as well as other area streets.

The initial traffic counts on the bypass indicate that 12,000 vehicles per day are using the new thoroughfare. The evaluation of the counts should be completed this summer and ODOT plans on doing additional counts in the fall to use as a comparison.

The city of Newberg requested that ODOT conduct a study at the intersection of Everest Street and Highway 219 to determine if it warrants a new traffic signal.

Because it is technically a state highway, the requirements to install a signal are rigorous and it must meet strict legal requirements before ODOT can consider a new its installation.

The state's traffic roadway engineer is the person with the authority to approve any new signals while ODOT considers a variety of factors when considering control and design.

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