VIDEO DETECTION New system to help traffic at intersections

BOARDMAN -- Traffic along Shields Road may run a bit smoother these days, thanks to a new video detection system that's been installed at two intersections.
The Mahoning County Engineer's Office installed a traffic-responsive video detection system at the intersection of Sheban Drive and Shields last summer. A second system, at West Boulevard and Shields, was installed in October and a third system is set for installation soon at Shields and Tippecanoe Road.
The video detection system, which costs around $36,000 for each intersection, uses a "cutting edge" technology to determine the amount of traffic waiting at the light, said Jack Krompegel of the engineer's office. When a certain amount of traffic is waiting, the system triggers the light to change, which keeps traffic moving.
Buried lines
The new technology replaces the method of buried lines that emit an electromagnetic field that -- when broken -- trips the traffic light. The buried lines are not quite as expensive to install as the video detection system, Krompegel said, but the buried lines' higher maintenance costs make them less cost-effective in the long run.
"With our crazy winters here, you get a little water in there, and your wire is no longer good," Krompegel said. "Then you have to go in and make repairs, and that adds up."
The county is pleased so far with the new system, Krompegel said. From now on, the traffic-responsive system will be installed with all new projects.

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