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Toll Road officials unveil major improvements to keep drivers safe

Toll Road officials unveil major improvements to keep drivers safe. // WSBT 22

There's no doubt that winter is here to stay.

We all know that lake effect snow can wreak havoc on the Toll Road.

Toll Road officials have unveiled some major improvements on the roadways. It's in an effort to make sure that we're safe this winter season.

These improvements are really like a glimpse into the future. Not only are there going to be new state of the art message boards, but what's really cool are cameras that are installed along the roadways.

Those cameras can be monitored back at the Toll Road management center, all to keep us safe.

You may also see some new plow trucks on the road. The Toll Road is rolling out 10 new trucks.

All of this is in an effort to keep drivers safe this winter season.

"We've actually brought in ten new trucks, state of the art trucks, designed to really minimize the salt usage on the road and to help keep the motorists safe. So by 2019 we will have replaced the entire fleet which is certainty going to help our snow removing efforts,” said Rick Fedder, COO Indiana Toll Road.

Thousands of drivers travel on the toll road every single day. Every winter there are accidents, many of them deadly.

But both police and Toll Road officials are hoping this winter is different.

"We don't like to see destruction and people hurt, and a lot of times we see people on their worst day. We want as few days like that as possible," said Sergeant Ted Bohner,

To keep people safe, the Toll Road is increasing communication. It's called an intelligent transportation system, or ITS.

That includes 12 real time colorful message boards.

"Warning motorists of inclement weather, perhaps crashes ahead to allow them to slow down. Follow the posted speeds as we adjust those as part of its system, and helps them just drive a bit safer letting them know what they can expect a mile, two miles, five miles up the road," said Fedder.

Another part of ITS keeping us moving in the right direction, cameras along the corridors.

"To respond to incidents quicker, to know what to deploy when we have an accident and to really make that a bit safer for not only the motorists, but for our employees and our first responders as well," said Fedder.

Those cameras could detect a crash before anyone dials 911.

"These are going to bring us up to basically the future where it's almost real time," said Bohner.

"As you look at the new travel plazas, as you drive on the new asphalt, it's a commitment of over $300 million of money that we have invested in northern Indiana," said Fedder.

These improvements are along about a 70 mile stretch of the Toll Road from Portage to Elkhart County. They'll be implemented this February.

State police said those cameras will not be used to catch speeders.

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