The system will monitor both atmospheric and pavement conditions.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County highway officials will use state-of-the-art equipment to monitor road conditions around the county next year.
Engineer Richard Marsico said integrated road weather information systems will be installed at Western Reserve Road and South Avenue in Boardman Township, Mahoning Avenue and Bailey Road in Jackson Township, and Middletown and Beloit-Snodes roads in Smith Township.
A federal grant of $120,000 will pay for most of the project, Marsico said. The county chipped in $30,000 in matching funds.
The system uses a combination of sensing devices that collect and gauge information about weather and pavement conditions, Marsico said.
The pavement part of the system monitors such factors as road temperatures, wet/dry conditions, precipitation and, in some cases, the presence of chemicals on the driving surface.
Another part of the system will gauge weather conditions such as air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, visibility and the type and rate of precipitation.
The above-ground system will also include a video camera for real-time pictures of conditions at each intersection.
The information will be routed to a central computer system for analysis, and then made immediately available to the engineer's staff, Marsico said.
He chose the three intersections because of their traffic volume and their locations in various parts of the county. That way, road crews can get a picture of weather conditions all over the county, which will be especially helpful when winter storms hit, Marsico said.
"When those storms come, we will be able to respond better and get crews out first to where the system shows they are needed the most," he said.