Flexible Lane Use (Flex Lanes) is an operational tool being proposed on both directions of I-76 between US 202/422 and I-476 as well as westbound between the Roosevelt Expressway (US Route 1) and Belmont Avenue/Green Lane. Flex Lanes will be temporary lanes that will be added either to the inside or the outside of the existing two-lane cross section on I-76 and will provide additional capacity when traffic volumes are high. The placement of Flex Lanes will also help facilitate Dynamic Junction Control by allowing high-volume entrance ramps to enter mainline I-76 without having to merge. Frequent emergency pull-offs, additional emergency responder entrances/exits and other strategies are being studied for construction and use when Flex Lanes are activated.
When traffic volumes do not require the use of an additional lane on I-76, Flex Lanes will be closed to general traffic providing additional space for disabled vehicles to safely pull off the travel way, allowing access for emergency vehicles and PennDOT maintenance and construction crews, and potentially providing dedicated throughput for transit vehicles.
Flex Lanes will be dynamically opened and closed utilizing overhead lane signals mounted to gantries located at regular intervals along the expressway. This strategy provides a cost-effective means of providing additional capacity only when it is truly needed.