Local News

Smile for the DOT Cameras Along I-40

Posted June 20, 1999

— Whether you are stuck in traffic on I-40 in the Triangle or cruising around the Raleigh Beltline, authorities are watching.

The statepushed the "on" button Monday on its new traffic camera system. The goal is to steer you away from traffic jams.

You are on candid camera if you're driving along I-40. The Triangle's first traffic management center is up and running.

"This takes you to the eastbound direction, and this is westbound I-40. This is northbound on Aviation, and this is southbound on Aviation," said JoAnn Oerter, traffic operations engineer.

The video comes from 17 cameras installed along I-40 fromRaleightoDurham. It is fed into the center and monitored by traffic engineers who are able to zoom in and verify accidents or congestion.

They can then post information on message boards to alert drivers.

"If you're a local commuter, maybe you know a back way that'll save you time, especially if you know what's happening on something like 40 where there's an incident," said Jamie Snow, incident management engineer.

In addition to the 200,000 local commuters that drive that corridor every day, the center is designed to help move the thousands of extra cars that will be on I-40 during the Special Olympics World Games.

The federal government helped fund the project because of the Special Olympics.

The benefits to Triangle commuters will be around long after the World Games are gone.

"It's staying, and it'll be nice to have. It'll really help," said Snow.

The new traffic management center will be manned from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. After hours, traffic engineers will take home laptop computers in order to type messages for the message boards if they are needed.

The DOT will rely on volunteers to staff the center during the Special Olympics since the funding for those new positions does not kick in until next month.


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