MERIDEN — A state project to add traffic cameras to local highways is expected to be completed in 2021.
The state Department of Transportation announced plans a couple of years back to add the cameras to interstates 91 and 691, and Route 15. DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said in early 2018 that the project could begin construction in late 2018 and take about two years to complete. Nursick wrote in an email this week that it “looks like early 2021 for completion of the project.”
Local highways are a “blind spot” in the state’s system of traffic cameras. Information from the cameras will be useful to motorists, first responders, and law enforcement, according to DOT.
The cameras will show traffic congestion, road conditions, construction and maintenance activity, lane closures, and traffic accidents. Data will be transmitted to DOT headquarters in Newington, where staff will assist in providing information to DOT personnel and state and local emergency responders.
“The traffic cameras and electronic variable message signs will assist CTDOT to better manage traffic incidents and provide up to date traffic conditions and highway travel times to emergency responders, media, and motorists in the project area,” said Kevin Nursick, a DOT spokesman.
The project will add advanced traffic management systems along the I-91 and I-691 corridor in Meriden, Cheshire, Middletown, Southington, Middlefield, and Cromwell.
The nearly 30 cameras will cost about $150,000 each, Nursick said in 2018. On I-91, 15 closed-circuit television cameras are set to be added between Cromwell and the Meriden I-691 interchange, including a camera on Route 15 near the junction. The project is estimated to cost $10,527,660.
Fourteen cameras are planned for I-691 between the I-91/Route 15 interchange and I-84 in Southington, in addition to three electronic overhead variable message signs. That phase of the project is projected to cost $13,340,470.
Federal aid will cover 90 percent of costs for both phases, Nursick said.
Acting City Manager and Fire Chief Ken Morgan said the cameras could also help firefighters locate accidents on the highway.
“There’s a potential that we could set it up so our dispatch has it all the time and that would help us in the event that there’s an accident. They might be able to pinpoint it a little faster with a camera and we wouldn't have to hunt it down,” Morgan said in 2018. “The potential is great.”