I-75 ITS to improve interstate communication, aid motorists

ITS Paynes Prairie

A project on Interstate 75 designed to assist motorists with up-to-date travel information is coming to North Florida during the course of the next two years.

The ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) project is currently underway in District 2 of the Florida Department of Transportation and consists of four counties on I-75 – Alachua, Columbia, Suwannee, and Hamilton. The District 2 project is from the Paynes Prairie to the Florida/Georgia line.

An ITS currently exists in the Paynes Prairie area.

The ITS project involves installing traffic cameras and vehicle detection sensors on the roadway. ITS allows emergency agencies to utilize enhanced technology to better detect traffic slowdowns and incidents. This information can then be passed along to motorists through digital message boards installed on the interstate and through the FDOT 511 system.

The vehicle detection sensors will alert staff at regional traffic management centers of a slowdown or incident, and the cameras allow access to real-time video of the portion of the roadway in question. This information can then be displayed on the digital message boards and reported to 511, which provides motorists with additional methods of retrieving information – through phone, social media, or the 511 website.

The technology here is used for traffic monitoring purposes only. The cameras do not record and no footage is stored by FDOT.

District 2’s $18 million project is currently in the first phase of construction. Conduit and pull boxes have been installed throughout the four Interstate 75 counties in District 2 and crews have begun pulling fiber optic cable that will connect the sensors together. Crews can pull approximately one mile of fiber optic cable per day, and it is expected that portion of the project will take three to four months. By September, they should be able to start connecting the project together.

Phase one of the project should be completed by the end of the year. The actual deployment of the signs and cameras is part of the second phase of construction and is expected to begin later this year or early next year.

The overall project is expected to be completed in 588 days and be operational by April 2018.

Once completed, the District 2 ITS system will consist of 101 detectors on an 86-mile stretch of roadway. These sensors will be placed every half-mile in the city of Gainesville and every mile outside of the city limits. There will also be 25 digital message signs – 13 northbound and 12 southbound – and 93 cameras located on Interstate 75.

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