KNOXVILLE (AP) - Construction has begun on a highway monitoring center in Knoxville that is similar to systems operating since June in Nashville and planned for Memphis and Chattanooga.
"This is an important day for people who regularly travel on major highways in the Knoxville area," Gerald Nicely, Tennessee Department of Transportation commissioner, said during a groundbreaking Tuesday. "It will make highway travel safer and more efficient."
The TDOT SmartWay Transportation Management Center in Knoxville will be watching traffic from 24 remote cameras by next spring and a total of 73 cameras by late 2004 or early 2005 along Interstates 40, 75, 275 and 640, Pellissippi Parkway and Alcoa Highway.
The $17.4 million system has 16 message signs, 214 speed sensors and an AM radio station for travelers.
The cameras will be far enough away to avoid invading motorists' privacy but close enough to gauge traffic conditions. The speed sensors will be used to monitor slowing traffic, not to catch speeders. And the message boards will be used to warn motorists of approaching hazards or congestion.