West End Bridge – Integrated, Dynamic Message Signs and Lane Control

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The West End Bridge is an essential connection to Pittsburgh’s popular North Shore destinations including the football and baseball stadiums, casino and amphitheater. Traveling the four-lane, undivided structure situated over the Ohio River often created traffic headaches for travelers – especially during major events.

To relieve some of this congestion, Michael Baker provided the design of an intelligent transportation system (ITS) plan for an integrated reversible lane control and Dynamic Message Sign (DMS) system. The system replaced existing separate, independent and obsolete fiber optic reversible lane control and rotating drum changeable message guide signs on the West End Bridge.

The system incorporated full-color LED DMS guide signs adjacent to static guide signs and LED Lane Use Traffic Control Signals – a first-of-its-kind installation of a coordinated/integrated system in western Pennsylvania. A new fiber optic backbone provided communication from the field master controller to local traffic signal controllers, as well as DMS sign controllers simultaneously, allowing for the City of Pittsburgh police department to implement multiple reversible lane scenarios at the flip of a switch. The project involved extensive coordination with various stakeholders, PennDOT and the City of Pittsburgh.

The system also included a wireless spread spectrum communications link from the field master controller to the City of Pittsburgh Traffic Management Center (TMC) to allow for control and diagnostics of the system directly from the TMC.


“This project successfully integrated an existing overhead changeable lane system with the nation’s first ever application of full-color dynamic message signs as overhead pull-through and directional signs in an urban application.”

Jim K.
Project Manager

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