The priority intersections, which will see some of the heaviest traffic through the city, have eight cameras, four looking at the legs of the intersection and four looking upstream at the approaching traffic. Engle said his staff is looking at adding a few more priority intersections to downtown side streets intersections.
The other 70 lighted intersections around the city aren’t classified as “priority” as they will only have four cameras looking at each leg of the intersection, Engle said.
The price tag covers the installation of the system, a consultant, and a five-year maintenance agreement. Over the lifetime of the maintenance agreement, Engle said the city would be able to understand the annual maintenance costs, which he expects can be costly. Just at the priority intersections, there are 216 cameras. The other 70 intersections will have nearly around 280.
The Centracs system is replacing the city’s old system, which operates somewhat independently, though they are synced in some areas. But Engle said many signals are independent, and city officials wouldn’t know when a malfunction occurs unless a police officer or concerned citizen contacts the city.
This new system will have all its information transmitted through a fiber network to a central location at the city garage, and city staff will be able to monitor every traffic signal ― priority and non-priority signals ― in Hamilton.
“With this system, we’ll be able to see it all on a computer screen, and it will even send text messages, alerting staff there’s a problem there,” Engle said.
City Manager Joshua Smith said the installation of the Centracs system would help Hamilton “get ahead of the Spooky Nook traffic” as it becomes fully operational in 2023.
Spooky Nook owner Sam Beiler told City Council last week the $165 million, 1.2 million-square-foot mega sports and events complex will begin seeing tens of thousands of people ascend North B Street by early March. A small one-day field hockey event on Jan. 7 saw businesses with significant activity, according to multiple small business owners.
By the summer, the other 70 intersections around the city will have the Centracs system installed.
The city’s old traffic light system also did not have the capacity for a pre-emption system for public safety vehicles, where an ambulance, fire engine, or police car heading toward an emergency scene would be recognized by the system and given green lights.
However, one issue is that pedestrians walking downtown must press the crosswalk button to activate the signal.
“Before, we had pedestrian crossings linked with the traffic signals, but that’s no longer the case,” Engle said. “The crossing signal will remain red unless someone pushes the button.”