New traffic cams to ease congestion

TYLER (KYTX) - Good news for Tyler drivers, traffic on Loop 323 should be moving even smoother by the end of the year. CBS 19's Amanda Roberson explains how the city's making it happen.

About 40,000 cars use at least a portion Loop 323 in Tyler and to help ease some of the congestion that can build up on the road, the City of Tyler is adding advanced traffic cameras to eight new intersections. It will complete traffic camera use around the Loop, hopefully helping drivers get where they're going even faster.

From Robertson Road to Highway 69, the idea of a less congested Loop 323 is hard for some drivers to imagine. 

"I just don't know what else to say about the loop, I really don't," Honey Young said. "It's not people friendly, it's not user friendly and I just don't like messing with it."

Young lives in Flint and said she uses the open portion of Loop 49 to avoid 323. "There's a stoplight for every two or three blocks. Instead of a 15 minute trip it will turn into a 30 minute trip." 

"We want to know the next platoon of cars coming, how fast they're coming, how many cars are coming," City Traffic Engineer Peter Eng explained. Right now, traffic cameras in Tyler only detect when a driver is stopped at a red light, called a stop bar.

"It recognizes somebody's waiting and it goes through that process but for adaptive control we need something a little bit further away," Eng said.

That's why the city is installing Vantage Vector cameras, which detect traffic on approach, then automatically change lights to keep traffic flowing.

"Using radar to detect advanced detection of cars coming upstream, four five six hundred feet up and also have the same functionality as a stop bars like traditional cameras." It's dual technology in one camera that Eng said makes sense for Loop 323 traffic. "Hopefully we'll get the traffic moving so the drivers won't have to stop as often."

"It should be better," added Young. "I should hope so because traveling from one side of town to the other is like pulling teeth around here."

Camera installation for those eight intersections along the west portion of Loop 323 between Robertson Rd. and Highway 69 should begin in the next couple of weeks. The city said they plan to have all of them up and running by the holidays.

Tyler will be the first city in Texas to use the new cameras. It will cost the city about $150, 000 to buy and install the cameras. They're being paid for with tax dollars.


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