MARTINS FERRY - The Hanover Street and Route 7 intersection will soon have some extra eyes with the planned installation of traffic cameras. Police Chief John McFarland noted the serious issues that surround that intersection and a high number of accidents and deaths.
With this in mind, the city began looking into speed recording cameras which will be obtained through Redflex Traffic Systems in Phoenix, Ariz.
He added that Council Member Bruce Shrodes brought up the possibility after hearing of similar traffic camera systems in Columbus, Cleveland and other cities. The cameras are capable of detecting vehicles in violation of the speed limit and will automatically make note of them.
"They're going to run 24 hours day," he said. "Any time there's an infraction where someone runs a red light, they're going to send a clip."
The cameras will obtain the vehicles' license plates and send the report to the police, then to Redflex. The company will then issue a civil citation to the offender.
The cameras will incur no cost to the city, since Redflex will receive a percentage of the traffic fines.
Safety Director William Suto said the cameras will also have the capacity to extend a yellow light's timing for up to seven seconds if the camera detects than an oncoming vehicle is traveling too quickly to decelerate.
"It has the brains to assume a car speeding will not make the red light," he said.
McFarland added that traffic enforcement at that intersection has been increased in the past two years. The live feed should mean a faster dispatch of aid to the site of an accident.
"It's touted by the state as one of the most dangerous intersections in Ohio," said Suto.
McFarland said the cameras would also facilitate investigations by showing who was at fault in an accident. He added that they may also act as a deterrent factor.
"I would hope if they knew a camera was there they would be more cautious and not run a red light," he said.
McFarland added that the city council should approve the plan during their upcoming meeting. He hopes to see the cameras installed by the first of next year.