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Traffic cameras to be installed on I-675

By Maria José Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) announced Thursday that it has awarded 17 more contracts, valued at $79.5 million, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

And Clayton, Henry and DeKalb counties will be the beneficiaries of a contract awarded to World Fiber Technologies, Inc., of Alpharetta. According to state transportation officials, the $1.9 million contract will pay for the installation of advanced, traffic-monitoring and closed-circuit, video monitoring equipment, on 14 miles of Interstate 675, between I-75 and I-285.

"This will allow us to monitor traffic flow, so that we can advise motorists of what travel conditions are," said David Spear, a GDOT spokesperson.

According to Spear, the traffic cameras will allow GDOT to keep watch on traffic through the Transportation Management Center, located in downtown Atlanta. If there is a circumstance in which a vehicle accident may occur, GDOT is able to advise police departments of a distressed motorist's exact location, or to dispatch its own Highway Emergency Response Operators (HEROS).

"We can dispatch people more quickly to the scene," said Spear. "Our camera systems allow us to tell ... precisely where the accident may be."

Spear said traffic cameras allow GDOT to advise motorists of traffic information, by using the overhead message boards, on the intestate highways as well.

"For every minute there is an incident on the road, it takes seven minutes for that traffic to recover ... [Traffic cameras] keep traffic moving," he added.

Spear said the construction is planned to begin in September, and will take approximately 18 months to complete. Construction workers will place traffic sensors underneath the roadways, or imbed them in the pavement, and install the cameras. The length of the construction depends on the availability of the equipment, he said.

"These awards represent the conclusion of Georgia DOT's implementation of phase one of the stimulus program," said Vance Smith, Jr., GDOT commissioner.

"We've injected more than $200 million into Georgia's economy to create and save jobs for our citizens, while, at the same time, make important safety, capacity and maintenance improvements to our highway system, and there is more progress to come as we move into phase-two stimulus projects."

During phase one, GDOT awarded a total of approximately $56 million, for 44 projects, in May, and $84 million, for 31 projects, during the month of June, according to Spear.