Traffic camera installed to help with congestion

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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