- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
New cameras are going up to monitor traffic conditions on state roads in St. Mary’s County, at its busiest intersection and at two spots prone to flooding.
The cameras have been erected on their own poles at Route 5 and Newtowne Neck Road in Leonardtown and at Route 5 and Great Mills Road in Great Mills, which in the past have been flooded by the McIntosh Run and the St. Mary’s River during storms.
The other two cameras will be installed at the Route 235 and Route 4 intersection in California to monitor traffic conditions as workers from Patuxent River Naval Air Station try to make their to and from the Gov. Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge to Calvert County. The intersection sees almost 59,000 vehicles a day on average, according to the state.
The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services and Technology used a $86,000 grant last year to buy the cameras and poles.
Initially, the department planned to install the cameras on existing traffic signal poles, but the Maryland State Highway Administration preferred them to go on their own poles, which delayed the project.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is going to maintain the cameras purchased by the county, said Bob Kelly, director of the St. Mary’s Department of Emergency Services and Technology. “We’ll be able to access them” remotely.
Before the county bought the cameras, “we generally had to send people out to see how high is the water,” Kelly said, when the roads flooded. Now there will be markers added next to the roadways so emergency staff can see how high the water is using the cameras.
The public will also be able to connect to the cameras through the CHART system (Coordinated Highways Action Response Team) on the SHA’s website.
There are seven cameras in the system now in Southern Maryland, said Kellie Boulware of the office of communications for SHA. There is a camera at Route 4 and the base of the Thomas Johnson bridge on the St. Mary’s County side, one at the intersection of Route 5 and Route 301 in Waldorf and five at the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River in Charles County.
The two new cameras in Leonardtown and Great Mills still need to be connected to electricity and then into the CHART system, which should take “a couple more weeks,” Kelly said, then the other two cameras in California are to follow.
One camera at Route 235 and Route 4 will watch southbound traffic on Three Notch Road, and the other will monitor the flow on Route 4 toward the Thomas Johnson bridge, Kelly said.
The existing cameras in the CHART system can be viewed online at www.chart.state.md.us/TravInfo/trafficcams.php.