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Front Royal Town Council OKs installation of traffic cameras

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By M.K. Luther -- mkluther@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The town has given the green light for the installation of traffic-detection cameras on signals at additional intersections.

Funding had already been set aside through energy department for signal improvement, according to interim Town Manager Steven Burke.

The total cost for the cameras and the necessary equipment, accessories and installation would be between $44,000 and $48,000, according to Burke.

The work can be paid for with carryover funds from last fiscal year, as well as some money from this year's budget.

The original estimate totals $48,985.80. The town has two current purchase order for the project totaling a little more than $36,000. The remaining balance of $12,569.82 could be drawn from the "traffic signalization" budget, according to information from the town's energy resources department.

The video detection devices would be placed at the intersections of Criser Road and South Royal Avenue and Commerce and Water streets.

The cameras are already being used on traffic signals at other intersections in Front Royal, Burke said, and the installation at these two intersections will complete a planned town-wide upgrade.

The video monitoring system will not to be used for "red-light running" or traffic violation enforcement, Burke said, but instead will help improve the efficiency of the signals to improve traffic flow. The cameras monitor the intersections and detect motion and traffic pattern differences to time signal changes, Burke said.

The cameras will replace a monitoring system that uses ground-installed loop detectors, which is more labor and cost-intensive. Also, the loop detector does not pick up all traffic activity from all vehicles, such as motorcycles and bicycles, Burke said.

While the up-front cost might seem high the total is inclusive -- including cameras, cable and monitoring equipment -- and the use of the traffic cameras will pay for itself in the long-term.

"It is expensive, however, it is long-lasting," Burke said.

For example, when changes must be made to an intersection, the cameras can be easily altered without the road work needed to change an underground systems. Shifting the camera's view costs "significantly less than the cost to resurface the road," Burke said.

Also, in terms of maintenance and repair, the already installed cameras have an estimated life span that is 10 year longer than the previous traffic signal system, Burke said.

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