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W - Interstate Traffic Cameras 2012-11-28 12.10.26GAINESVILLE – Cameras placed along 1-75 in Alachua County are transmitting images of traffic that are available for the public to view. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the University of Florida and Alachua County contributed funding for the project. Through the gac-smartraffic website, the public can view traffic snapshots from 13 cameras.

Ten of the cameras currently run on solar power and wireless technology, while three remain connected to the electric grid. The first camera was put in place in August.

Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Operations Engineer Matthew Weisman said working on the Interstate is expensive and by using solar power and wireless technology, the work can be completed at a cheaper cost. According to Weisman, the cost of the cameras plus the concrete pole and construction are $20,000. Three cameras can be found in the Paynes Prairie area and more can be found at interchange exits such as Newberry and Archer roads. The most recent camera added in Marion County was placed on an existing concrete pole for $5,000.

The FDOT has future plans to place additional cameras and signs along parts of I-75.

“They are going to do a full deployment of ITS on the interstate, so more cameras are going to be added,” Weisman said.

The cameras that are already in place will become a part of the coming FDOT network of cameras and receive full power. Weisman said the FDOT was originally looking at 2017 or 2018 to fund the project through Alachua County.

“There were more reasons why we wanted to get our deployment of these 13 cameras up sooner,” Weisman said. Referring to the deadly vehicle pileup on Interstate 75in southern Alachua County in January 2012, Weisman said, “After the Payne’s Prairie crash, because there was legislation, they were able to get that money sooner.” The tragedy, which occurred along Interstate 75 as it runs through Payne’s Prairie, was blamed on an area brush fire, which led to car crashes resulting in the deaths of 11 people.

“If someone knows they are going to be planning a trip,” Weisman said. “They can go ahead and look at those cameras.” The public can view near real-time Interstate 75 traffic at http://gac-smartraffic.com/

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