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Mississippi DOT launches US$3.7 million Hattiesburg ITS project

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the City of Hattiesburg have announced details concerning a Hurricane Response and Incident Management ITS project that will add a dozen more traffic cameras on major highways and intersections, and the installation of seven dynamic message boards (DMS), which will warn drivers of impending road conditions. The US$3.7 million project, awarded to McInnis Electric Company of Jackson, will take about a year to complete. As part of the project, fiber optic cables will be installed along US 49, US 98 and Interstate 59 to bring about ITS improvements, in order to provide motorists with crucial information during hurricane evacuations or other events.

Cameras will be installed at every message board, and will expand the centralized Traffic Incident Response System (TIRS) recently deployed in the Hattiesburg Regional Traffic Management Center (TMC) at MDOT’s District Six Headquarters. Video from the cameras will be shared with Hattiesburg’s TMC. The TIRS allows both MDOT and Hattiesburg traffic engineers the ability to view live traffic movement and more quickly respond to traffic incidents on the city’s roadways. This same traffic video will be sent to www.mstraffic.com, MDOT’s traveler information website, so that subscribers can be notified of traffic and weather incidents along their daily commute routes. The message boards can also be used in conjunction with the AMBER AlertT Program, which is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry, to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases.

“This project, along with a separate project to install fiber optics along Highway 49, will result in the highest level of traffic management and efficiency in the Hattiesburg area,” says MDOT ITS manager, Mike Stokes. “This area is significantly impacted when hurricane evacuations are implemented and this project will give local authorities options in managing the flow of traffic through the area.” Other events can be managed as well, including large scaled events or football games at the University of Southern Mississippi. Bob Chapman, MDOT emergency services director, adds, “During hurricane evacuations, the entire area will benefit from the cutting-edge technology provided through this ITS project. By increasing the ability to communicate with motorists via message boards, the driving public will be better informed. The project will have a direct impact on how we manage a variety of events.”

 

December 7, 2009

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