Sevierville gets high tech cameras to ease traffic congestion

Sevierville gets high tech cameras to ease traffic congestion

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The cameras are so small and so high in the air, most people won't even know they're there. The cameras are so small and so high in the air, most people won't even know they're there.
The cameras provide these images to help with traffic flow. The cameras provide these images to help with traffic flow.

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Anchor/Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) -- More cameras are going up at intersections in Sevierville, but they aren't meant to monitor speeding or running red lights.

Instead, the traffic cameras are aimed at putting the brakes on a constant traffic headache. Traffic congestion is so thick on Highway 66 during peak times, police are required to direct vehicles through busy intersections.

"This is a man power issue for me," says police Chief Don Myers. "We've expanded a good amount of overtime monies this past season just keeping up on Saturdays and Sundays on traffic issues. So this is really going to help me out a lot." 

City officials and Aldis, the company behind Smartgrid, hope the high tech cameras will keep people moving.

Aldis' Vice President of Operations, Matt Greenoe, explains how the cameras will be a big help during the massive construction project on Highway 66.

"With the constant construction over the next year or two, what we're able to do is remotely manage traffic using these cameras. Our camera is a stop bar detection, which means when a vehicle pulls up to the stop bar at the intersection, we send a signal to the controller to let the controller know a vehicle is present and to cycle through the red, yellow, green lights," Greenoe says. 

The cameras are so small and so high in the air, most people won't even know they're there. Police say they're meant for strictly easing congestion, not issuing tickets.

"They think it's going to be a traffic camera to write tickets and that is not the function of these cameras," Chief Myers says. "They're not set up to do that and we do not intend to have that use for them at all." 

TDOT is footing the bill, at a cost of about $10,000 per intersection. The traffic cameras will also provide real time traffic counts.

Howard Kingsbury owns The Diner on Highway 66. The construction has caused an eyesore in front of his restaurant, but he knows the finished product will ease traffic congestion and he hopes the new cameras will, too.

"We hope it's going to help and the traffic will flow a little bit better," Kingsbury says. "They say that it will. We've had some police men out on the corners changing lights and controlling lights and I know that's helped, so we have to assume that some automation can help."

The two cameras already in place are at the intersections of Highway 66 and Main Street and Highway 66 and Highway 448.

Plus, there are four more cameras scheduled to go up at intersections on Highway 66 over the next several months.  

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