CHESAPEAKE-- Chesapeake officials say more cameras and traffic sensors will be installed to help prevent traffic bottlenecks throughout the city.
“When there are incidents, hopefully we'll be able to get to you, more quickly. We'll have that eye in the sky,” Earl Sorey of Public Works explained.
The city won a $2 million federal grant to update the "Traffic Management Center.” The plan calls for adding about 20 cameras at key intersections.
Traffic sensors will also be added at Military Highway, Greenbrier Parkway, Western Branch Boulevard and Portsmouth Boulevard.
City crews will monitor the cameras, so workers can respond quickly to clear up accidents, or to adjust the timing of stop lights that are too long or too short.
The city’s public safety center will be able to view the cameras, but people at home will not have access online. “That is a possible outcome for the future. There are some costs that have to be evaluated, and technical issues with bandwidth on how to get that information uploaded,” Sorey explained.
The city already has some sensors in the road that detect traffic flow to help determine the timing of lights. A handful of intersections have the technology:
-Greenbrier Parkway between I-64 and Volvo Parkway
-Military Highway from the Virginia Beach city line to I-46
-Portsmouth Boulevard from the I-664 Interchange to Dock Landing Road
-Taylor Road from Portsmouth Boulevard to Taylorwood Boulevard
-Western Branch Boulevard from the Suffolk city line to the Portsmouth city line.
Additionally, several intersections on main roads are linked by wireless communication. This reduces the amount of stops for drivers. Areas with that technology include:
- Battlefield Boulevard from Kempsville Road to the I-64 Interchange
- Cedar Road from Waters Road to Dominion Boulevard
- Kempsville Road from Clearfield Avenue to Greenbrier Parkway
- Volvo Parkway from Battlefield Boulevard to Greenbrier Parkway
- Eden Way North from Crossways Boulevard to Greenbrier Parkway.
The TMC serves as the command and control center for traffic. Workers can watch over the city's more than 170 traffic signals. The system currently has 23 closed circuit TV cameras, and eight large flat panel displays. The TMC operates Monday through Friday from 7 a.m to 5p.m.
The new project will go out for bid this summer. Design is expected to start in the fall, lasting about 6 months. The construction phase is planned to take a year.