Newly installed radar, camera technology intended to quell wrong-way driver casualties

Systems installed at 4 locations so far

By Deven Clarke - News Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Even if you're driving responsibly, you may not notice a wrong-way driver until it's too late.

It's one of the biggest reasons the Texas Department of Transportation is spearheading safety projects, originally created following the tragic death of a 27-year-old San Antonio Police Department officer responding to a call.

"Back in March of 2011 Officer Stephanie Brown was hit and killed by a wrong-way driver on IH-35," John Gianotti, transport engineer with the TxDOT said.

Radars, cameras and light strips on wrong-way signs are being installed along U.S. 90. They are at four locations so far.

"Eastbound and westbound exits to Callaghan off of U.S. 90, the westbound exit to State Hwy. 151, and the eastbound exit to General McMullen (Drive)," Gianotti said.

The technology is designed to detect and alert wrong-way drivers and let authorities know before it's too late.

"This system has three radars and one camera to detect the wrong-way driving," Gianotti said.

Once a wrong-way driver is detected by the radars and camera an alert will be sent to a cellphone mounted at the Transguide center, followed by emails with pictures and data. 

Monday, the three-point radar technology passed the test when it alerted TxDOT workers at Transguide to a wrong-way driver. 

Luckily, it turned out to be a construction vehicle traveling safely through the work zone for just a few seconds. 

"We know exactly what ramp the wrong-way driver is traveling and which direction they're going," Gianotti said.

All 17 ramps on U.S. 90 between 35 and 410 are expected to be outfitted with the new camera and radar system, hopefully within the next two to three months.

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