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Traffic camera installed to help with congestion

Posted: September 18, 2011 - 8:00am  |  Updated: September 21, 2011 - 8:52am
A camera is mounted on a light pole at the intersection of the Kenai Spur Highway and Bridge Access Road.  M. Scott Moon
M. Scott Moon
A camera is mounted on a light pole at the intersection of the Kenai Spur Highway and Bridge Access Road.

Kenai residents may have recently noticed a new feature hanging from the lights at a busy intersection in the area.

Alaska Division of Transportation spokesman Rick Feller confirmed Thursday that DOT has installed a new remote, traffic-viewing camera at the intersection of the Kenai Spur Highway and Bridge Access Road.

The addition of the surveillance equipment was prompted by summer-time traffic increases, specifically during the busy dipnetting season, Feller said.

"What we heard from our folks down there is that the intersection was just choked with people and there had to be traffic control brought out," Feller said. "It was kind of difficult getting around there for a few days."

The new system will allow DOT staff to remotely view the intersection and make corrections to the signal intervals to improve the flow and pace of traffic.

"What this allows us to do is from our home office in Anchorage, we can actually view the traffic conditions down there, see if an intersection is being backed up and then make corrections to make traffic flow more freely," Feller said.

The camera is part of a DOT project called the Central Region ITS - Intelligent Transportation Systems -Signal Control Upgrade. Chris Bentz, a DOT traffic design engineer, said somewhere between six and a dozen remote cameras will be installed along traffic corridors in the area.

"That way we can monitor each of those signals in a corridor and progress traffic through those corridors," he said.

At the onset of the project, the camera will likely not be hooked up to any recording technology, Bentz said, because that would require too much data storage and such a system is not yet in place.

"I think initially all we are going to be doing with that is doing live view," Bentz said.

DOT has also installed a radar detection device at the intersection of Bridge Access and Kalifornsky Beach Road that will sense the presence of cars waiting and initiate the proper sequences to unclog traffic.

"These cameras are a fairly new development here in our region," Feller said. "We are just now developing our capability of going online and actually monitoring the performance of intersections."

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peter_pan2k
0
Points
peter_pan2k 09/18/11 - 05:42 pm
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Cameras

Big brother grows under the guise of a benefit!!!!

alaska
36
Points
alaska 09/19/11 - 01:11 am
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???

Didn't know there was a traffic problem. Wonder how much this cost? Seems like a waste. The money could probably be better spent on lighting up the Spur so drivers can see the dang moose on the road.

akal
252
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akal 09/19/11 - 09:41 am
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0
bad choice

this money along with much more could have done some good by repaving North Cohoe Loop . the road is falling apart. the State sends thousands of people down it every summer for dip netting and beach fishing add the many gravel trucks from 2 pits.and the semi's that haul fish all summer and we have a road that is falling to pieces ,just take a look ! it has got very little repair ,(some cracks are 6" deep and 5 " across, the road gets a few feet of hot patch each year but that wont halt the ruin that is taking place. I watch many other roads that have little damage get repaved but not North Cohoe Loop. please next time the dot has extra money, put it in the highways not cameras.

peter_pan2k
0
Points
peter_pan2k 09/19/11 - 10:11 am
0
0
Guise

Traffic cameras can be used for positive uses but are more likely used to follow individuals for more clandestine purposes. A traffic citation for seat belt use is a good example. Law enforcement has become a juggernaut. If public safety is the real concern, than we would have more lights for streets and safer road surfaces. Every day we become more Orwellian.

k.winger
0
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k.winger 09/19/11 - 10:13 am
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Traffic Cameras in Kenai?!!!

When I see articles like this, I have to wonder who made the decision to spend such an outrageous sum of money for a minor traffic problem that only exists a couple of days a year. And then it dawned on me. Could it be that the supposed traffic problem might be a cover story to help us swallow the Big Brother pill more easily? If this isn't the real reason, it seems like a ridiculous waste of money that could have been better spent elsewhere. The really laughable part is that some overpaid yahoos up in Anchorage can now sit there and watch our traffic when there are traffic issues in their own town right under their noses that are a hundred-fold more problematic than anything that is going on in the Kenai area.
The article qotes the DOT spokesman as saying that it won't be hooked up to any recording technology "initially", but we would be idiots not to believe that recording for the purpose of issuing traffic citations is the ultimate reason for investing in this technology and you can bet that they will have it hooked up to that system in short order. I thought that it would be awhile yet before those of us in our little community would be subjected to these cameras that pry into our lives more and more all the time, but when they try to sugar-coat it by telling us that they are being put there to improve our traffic flow issues, I get absolutely furious to think that they believe we are that gullible!

Allen
636
Points
Allen 09/19/11 - 01:13 pm
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Scary

When the signals went out a few weeks ago at all the traffic lights in town, drivers used a voluntary four-way stop system. That was the smoothest driving experience through town I have had in a long time! It took less time to drive through town, and didn't require one single dime of public funding. When are we going to figure out that more (spying) technology is not always better?

northernlights
218
Points
northernlights 09/21/11 - 08:41 am
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commone sense

The main reason there was backed up traffic was because of road construction. Yes there were alot of drivers going fishing, but this does not mandate having cameras installed. Foolish spending of money if you ask me. This year will be a little better without the construction. Traffic might be so bad either if the newspapers would stop printing in bold letters, "the reds are in" As soon as those words are written everyone including their grandma races down here in panic.

akmscott
131
Points
akmscott 09/25/11 - 04:26 pm
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How long before the cops ask

How long before the cops ask to borrow it?

peter_pan2k
0
Points
peter_pan2k 09/25/11 - 06:13 pm
0
0
Cops??

Cops, Fish& Game, CIA, Homeland Security and so on, and so on.....

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