EPA Monitors Not Exhausted By Beltline Traffic

Posted August 14, 2006 9:45 a.m. EDT
Updated November 10, 2006 9:31 a.m. EST

— Although most local drivers loathe the traffic on the Interstate 440 Beltline, analysts with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can't get enough of the cars and trucks heading around the city.

The EPA is using Raleigh to test air pollution measuring equipment developed at its labs in nearby Research Triangle Park. Once the tests are complete, the equipment will be used to monitor pollution in major cities as part of a legal settlement between the Federal Highway Administration and consumer groups.

"The EPA is here measuring the pollution from the cars in the roadway as it flows off the roadway into our sampling equipment," environmental analyst Jason Weinstein said. "Basically, we're just vacuuming the pollution out of the air."

In some EPA surveys, the Triangle has shown pollution levels comparable to much larger cities.

Many of the monitors have been set up along the Beltline between Wake Forest Road and Capital Boulevard. Other monitors are located a few blocks away in residential areas.

"We're trying to directly measure how much pollution is flowing from these roadways and then we can measure the impact on the surrounding area," Weinstein said.