TUSCUMBIA — By early 2013, views from eight wireless cameras at key intersections and bridges throughout the Shoals will be available for viewing by the public.
The cameras have been in place for more than a year, but only Alabama Department of Transportation personnel have been able to utilize them to view traffic conditions.
In early 2013, that should change, said Transportation Department Special Projects Manager Andy Laster.
"We had a meeting about this last week in Montgomery," Laster said.
Insufficient bandwidth on lines between Tuscumbia and Montgomery prevented the Transportation Department from making the video feed from the Shoals traffic cameras available online, Laster said. The video feed has to go from Tuscumbia to Montgomery before it can be made available to the public.
"We're in the process of upgrading our bandwidth," Laster said. "There's only so much data you can push through a certain line."
The public can view an assortment of traffic cameras, primarily in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Montgomery, at alitsweb.dot.state.al.us/its.
Laster said the Transportation Department is installing security measures to prevent anyone from hacking into the system.
"They're telling me in just a matter of months we'll have that work completed," he said.
Transportation Department spokeswoman Rebecca Leigh White said the Shoals cameras should be available to the public by February or March.
"We're upgrading the (Integrated Traffic System) management software system," White said.
The upgrade will allow camera systems in every division to operate on the same software platform, White said.
Within the next six months, the Transportation Department will be adding five cameras to the eight already in place in the Shoals.
"It will expand our coverage on Cox Creek Parkway," Laster said. "It will expand our coverage on Florence Boulevard going toward Shoal Creek."
There also will be additional coverage around Regency Square Mall in Florence and on Wilson Dam Road in Muscle Shoals.
Phase Three of the project involves the installation of new dynamic message boards, similar to the ones on either end of O'Neal Bridge.
Those boards will be replaced with newer boards and two more will be added at "gateways" to the Shoals, possibly along Woodward Avenue entering Muscle Shoals and on U.S. 72 in the vicinity of the Indian Springs subdivision, Laster said.
White said while the Birmingham and Mobile cameras are real time, the Shoals cameras will be on a slight delay. She said the cameras are useful to commuters who want to check traffic conditions or travelers who want to monitor weather conditions, especially in the winter.
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.