Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Ramp Metering Will Improve Traffic Flow for Motorists on Highway 4 and Highway 242 in Concord

Today’s Date:          September 5, 2013
District:                     04-Oakland
Contact:                    Adam Priest   
Phone:                      (510) 286 5543
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   

New Ramp Metering Will Improve Traffic Flow for Motorists on Highway 4 and Highway 242 in Concord

Contra Costa County—Caltrans today announced it has completed the first phase of a $ 27 million dollar project to activate a new series of ramp metering lights along Highway 4 and Highway 242 in East Contra Costa County.  This ambitious project is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Freeway Performance Initiative, aimed at maximizing the capacity of existing roadway by targeting congestion during commute hours.  Ramp Meters improve safety, make travel time more predictable and increase the volume and speed of freeway traffic.

The ramp meters installed as part of this project are state-of-the-art meters that can adapt to current traffic conditions.  These meters will automatically adjust the green rate on the meters based on traffic flows both at on-ramps and on the highways themselves.  This innovative ramp metering system is a collaborative effort among Caltrans, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to facilitate faster and more reliable travel time along this busy corridor.

Caltrans staff has deployed “Metering Begins” signs along Highway 4 from Solano Way to Railroad Avenue and on Highway 242 from Clayton Road to Port Chicago Highway.
All 23 meters on these stretches of highway will be set to “green” starting September 9, 2013 during the morning  (6:00 am to 10:00 am) in westbound/southbound direction and evening (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm) in northbound/eastbound direction to give drivers a chance to get used to the new system.

Full ramp metering begins on September 17, 2013 in the westbound/southbound direction of Highway 4 and Highway 242.  Metering lights in the eastbound/northbound direction will go live on September 24, 2013.

As has been common throughout the state, newly activated ramp locations will experience some delays during the first few days of operation as drivers adjust to the meters.  Caltrans staff will monitor the metered on-ramps and make adjustments to fine-tune the metering operations.

Drivers who want to obtain more information can call the Ramp Metering Information Line number at 510-286-4531.


About (Caltrans)
The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, manages more than 50,000 miles of California's highway and freeway lanes, provides inter-city rail services, permits more than 400 public-use airports and special-use hospital heliports, and works with local agencies. Caltrans carries out its mission of improving mobility across California with six primary programs: Aeronautics, Highway Transportation, Mass Transportation, Transportation Planning, Administration and the Equipment Service Center.  The department has been active in moving the people and commerce of California for more than 100 years, from a loosely connected web of footpaths and rutted wagon routes to the sophisticated system that today serves the transportation needs of more than 30 million residents.

About Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA)
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority is a successful leader in transportation innovation, able to generate funding for local improvements and has a track record of executing projects and strengthening transportation in Contra Costa County.  CCTA was originally formed to manage the funds generated by the half-cent transportation sales tax, which Contra Costa County voters enacted in 1988 and renewed in 2004.  In addition to carrying out the Measure C and Measure J Expenditure Plans, the Authority also serves in the role of Contra Costa County’s Congestion Management Agency and administers the County’s Congestion Management Program.  The Authority has evolved to become a dynamic, highly collaborative and results-oriented regional partner with a reputation for delivering projects that keep Contra Costa moving.  Additional information about CCTA can be found at

About MTC
Created by the State Legislature in 1970, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Over the years, the agency’s scope has grown, and it is now three agencies in one, functioning as MTC as well as the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and the Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (SAFE).


  1. You guys screwed up big time.
    Your metering has screwed up traffic in Pittsburg and Baypoint. It now take me 30 minutes longer to get from Baypoint to Concord. A decent 15 minute commute has now turned into a 45 minute commute.
    As far as timing the meters, forget it. How about removing them? No timing will make this go away, unless you make them green. This was an idiot move and just another way to bilk more money out of taxpayers. Whoever came up with this idea should be recalled!

    1. Hank,

      Thank you for your comment. As you know, Caltrans and its partners – the Contra Costa Transit Authority, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission – recently began the initial phases of ramp metering in Contra Costa County. An advisory was sent to the media that indicated there would be an adjustment period involved.

      Caltrans and our partners have successfully installed ramp metering in various areas throughout the state of California. Almost always, the initial phase causes some inconvenience and adjustment for motorists. In addition, as some drivers witnessed a queue on the street as they approached the onramp, many attempted to bypass and avoid what they believed would be a significant delay in their travel time. This caused additional congestion on local streets.

      We have already witnessed improved travel time on the freeway, and are confident that the delays will be remedied within a relatively short period of time. Caltrans and its partners are monitoring the traffic in these areas and making adjustments to the timing patterns as needed during this transition. Caltrans will also permanently monitor the corridors and make periodic adjustments as necessary.

      Ramp metering increases safety for motorists and improves overall travel time. Caltrans and its partners are confident that when the initial phase is completed, motorists in the East Contra Costa area will notice these benefits.

      Best Regards,
      Adam Priest
      Public Information Officer
      Caltrans District 4, Office of Public Affairs

  2. I agree with Hank. While you may have "improved" the flow of traffic for those who work outside of Contra Costa county, you have done nothing but worsen the lives of those who work and live in East Contra Costa County. It now takes me 20 minutes to merge onto eastbound Highway 4 at Port Chicago Highway in Concord. A distance of . 4 miles. Thanks a lot. Sure helped a bunch. While sitting there for the full 20 minutes I estimated there to be close to 1200-1500 cars passing me at a speed close to 40 mph. As if the last 10 years of my commute from Brentwood to Concord has not been horrible enough, some genius Cal-Trans engineer thought it would be great to enable metering lights that have sat dormant for 20 years prior to completing the last stages of the highway widening project!? That's why they get paid the "big" bucks. Stellar.

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  4. Are there any plans to activate the metering lights at Laurel Road in Oakley, or at Lone Tree Way and Sand Creek Road in Brentwood? All three interchanges were recently completed and have metering lights installed, but they have never been activated. I was just wondering if there were any plans to activate these metering lights.

    Thank you,
    James Bradley, Jr.
    Oakley, CA