Soldotna residents may have noticed a new camera hanging from the traffic light at the intersection of the Sterling Highway and Binkley Street.
Alaska Department of Transportation spokesperson Jill Reese said the pan-tilt-zoom camera is to monitor traffic flow to evaluate and improve light timing plans.
Reese said the camera is one of 11 on the Kenai Peninsula and 20 in the Mat-Su Valley. In 2011, DOT first installed the remote traffic-viewing camera at the Kenai Spur Highway and Bridge Access Road.
“Their locations were selected based on their ability to help us time traffic signals, the availability of communications and maintenance needs,” Reese wrote in an email. “Because of limited funding, if an intersection could be observed from an adjacent (pan-tilt-zoom), those intersections may not have had one installed.”
The cost of the camera is $3,000 to install. Reese said cameras are also planned for the Sterling Highway and Birch Street intersection and Kalifornsky Beach Road and Gas Well Road. The cameras will be installed in any new signal locations, she said.
The cameras came as a result of increased summer-time traffic on the Kenai Peninsula, Reese said.
The Sterling Highway sees 18,740 cars a day drive through the Binkley Street intersection, while Binkley Street traffic has about 5,820 daily cars, according to statistics from DOT.
By comparison, the Kenai Spur Highway averages 12,000 to 14,000 drivers a day, Reese said.
The camera is not connected to any recording technology because it would require too much data to store, she said. The radar system in the camera senses the presence of oncoming vehicles and initiates the proper sequence intended to reduce traffic congestion.
On the Kenai Peninsula the 11 camera locations are:
Kenai Spur Highway and Willow Street; Main Street; Bridge Access; Airport Way; Marathon Road; and Park Street; and the Sterling Highway and Kalifornsky Beach Road; Kobuk Street; Binkley Street; Kenai Spur Highway; and Lake Street in Homer.
Reach Dan Balmer at email@example.com.