|The camera shots also could keep motorists from wasting as much gasoline.
Oklahoma City – A new Web site aimed at helping drivers prevent gasoline waste by avoiding traffic tie-ups debuted Monday at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
The Web site provides up-to-the-minute pictures of 12 of Tulsa’s heaviest traffic spots and 17 more in the Oklahoma City metro area.
ODOT Director Gary Ridley told the Transportation Commission during its regular meeting Monday, “We’re thrilled we’re able to provide this to the public, with congestion being what it is and fuel prices.”
The stationary pictures, which are refreshed every 90 seconds, show a 360-degree view of each area.
“Accessing the Web sites before traveling has several benefits, such as cutting down on delays, emissions and stress,” Ridley said. “With the cost of gas on the rise, a few miles saved can make a lot of difference.”
The cameras initially were installed in an effort to reduce response time for emergency responders and traffic management personnel, an ODOT news release states.
They are not monitored, and users must agree not to record information or use it for enforcement or litigation purposes, the agency said.
Ridley said the agency is sensitive to privacy concerns and that officials have used camera angles and shading to keep from photographing someone’s home or property.
Money to operate the Web site is included in the federally funded $9 million Intelligent Transportation System program, ODOT said.
The program is also funding 18 “dynamic message signs” on Tulsa and Oklahoma City highways to provide real- time information to drivers.
Also at the meeting, the Transportation Commission approved spending more than $1.2 million to install cable barriers along U.S. 75 in the Tulsa area.
One barrier project, which extends from south of 76th Street North to 126th Street North, is scheduled to take 45 days.
The second project will extend from Lewis Avenue to north of 66th Street North; it is scheduled to take 90 days.
Both projects will be completed by Midstate Traffic Control of Oklahoma City.
Commissioners also approved nearly $525,000 for right-of-way clearance along Interstate 44 in Tulsa, beginning at Riverside Drive and extending east.
The project allows ODOT to move ahead with environmental studies in certain buildings already acquired along the route, which is being widened, agency spokeswoman Kenna Mitchell said.
The project was awarded to D.T. Specialized Services of Catoosa and is scheduled to take eight months.