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Traffic technology reaches Forsyth County

Colorful tubes serve to better monitor traffic conditions

The colorful tubes being installed on Ga. 400 will provide more accurate traffic information through Forsyth County. ALDO NAHED. (click for larger version)

ALDO NAHED. (click for larger version)

ALDO NAHED. (click for larger version)
February 04, 2013
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Those yellow, blue, red and orange tubes being buried along nearly eight miles along Ga. 400 in Forsyth County do serve a purpose — better communication and traffic information gathering.

The "colorful tubes" are the housing protection for cable and wires on Ga. 400 that will extend our automated traffic management system (ATMS) and intelligent traffic system (ITS), said Teri Pope, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The $1.6 million project has a completion date of July 31 and the contract extends ATMS and ITS computer technology that shares real-time data about what is happening on the roadways.

The components are being installed from McFarland Parkway to Ga. 20 (Buford Highway), or about 7.7 miles.

"So it will extend the 511/Navigator system to Ga. 20 with cameras on the Web so you can see traffic, get trip times along the corridor," Pope said. "Technology uses several types of cameras and sensors to gather information that is shared on our website, through our app and to the media."

The work includes six cameras on Ga. 400 — three northbound and three southbound — plus video detection cameras at the McFarland and Ga. 20 ramps to and from Ga. 400.

"The video detection cameras will replace existing sensors in the roadway that tell the traffic signal at the ramps when a car is waiting and where it is waiting so the signal can do what that vehicle needs," Pope said. "The sensors aren't very reliable; they get damaged in crashes and have to be replaced frequently."

The video detection is the next level of technology, she said. It looks over the intersections and when a car is stopped waiting to turn left, the camera notices and triggers the left turn arrow.

The cameras are much more reliable than the sensors and have little maintenance, Pope said.

"We are switching to video detection as our budget allows," Pope said.

This also allows Atlanta-based television stations to use the camera views during their newscasts, so this upgrade will allow more real-time traffic information to be shared easily with Ga. 400 motorists.

John Cunard, the Forsyth County director of engineering, added that the project also includes fiber optic communications cable, cameras, radar detection and changeable message signs.

Ramp meters will be installed on the northbound and southbound ramps at Ga. 141 (Peachtree Parkway) and the southbound ramp at Ga. 20.

An underground fiber optic trunk line is being installed on the shoulder of northbound and southbound lanes.

The contract is with World Fiber Technologies, of Marietta. Once completed, motorists will be able to access real-time, statewide, route-specific information on accidents, road work, traffic and weather conditions through Georgia 511 — a free phone service.

By dialing 511, callers also can transfer to operators 24 hours a day to report incidents or request assistance.

The 511 service is also available online at

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Tags: Community & Outreach, Government & News & Crime

  1. report print email
    Who Cares!!!!
    February 04, 2013 | 04:32 PM

    Instead of spending this ridiculous amount of money on something we don't need....why not add more lanes. All of us who drive up and down 400 every day know what the traffic is like...we need more lanes to help with the issue...not technology to tell us there is congestion....what a waste of time , money and energy!!!

  2. report print email
    Who Cares!!!!
    February 04, 2013 | 04:32 PM

    Instead of spending this ridiculous amount of money on something we don't need....why not add more lanes. All of us who drive up and down 400 every day know what the traffic is like...we need more lanes to help with the issue...not technology to tell us there is congestion....what a waste of time , money and energy!!!

  3. report print email
    February 05, 2013 | 12:43 PM

    Theresa - you took the words right out of my mouth. Or off my keyboard. And I was thinking: "Wow spooky, she said pretty much what I was going to say" but that should have surprised me, really.

    Everyone who has to drive north of McFarland on the 400 is painfully aware of how bad traffic is. But as long as we have pretty cables to look at, we'll be fine. But then again, they'll be underground soon and we'll be no better off.

    It seems to me that the prospect of widening the bridge just north of McFarland is a little on the scary side for G-DOT.

  4. report print email
    February 05, 2013 | 12:46 PM

    Clearly, I meant to say "shouldn't have" in the second line... kind of takes the oomph out of it!

  5. report print email
    Traffic Technology - Colorful Tubes
    February 05, 2013 | 01:04 PM

    I am just thankful that the communication is being extended to Cumming. I have found it to be helpful when traveling either direction on GA400 so you can decide whether or not to take an alternative route. I drove up and down GA400 for 10 years and witnessed "if you build it, they will come". No more lanes!!

    Veronica Spellman
  6. report print email
    Don't worry Kaylene, I knew what you meant...
    February 06, 2013 | 12:01 PM was obvious!

    In any event I have to slightly disagree with you. While we do need more lanes, it is equally useful to people like me who like to check instant traffic conditions on 400 prior to leaving from home or work every day. For the 4 years I lived in Cumming and commuted to Alpharetta, that would have been a God-send between exits 14 and 12 where there were many, many complete shutdown wrecks.

    I listen to WSB on the way to 400, but the timing isn't always right and don't always get an update prior to "committing" to entering the on-ramp. As one who is planning on moving back to Cumming again, cameras would be useful to make a decision to take back roads as a 400 alternative in the event of a bad jam.

  7. report print email
    DOT = Dumb Old Techies
    April 16, 2013 | 02:23 PM

    WOW! We will now have a system where we can look at cameras north of McFarland to see what a mucked up mess the traffic is where those brilliant engineers at the DOT have four lanes going into two! Genius! Would have been better to spend the money on paving another few feet of road. They tried to "fix" the problem by extending the left lane a little, all it does is allow the more "important" people to drive a little further in that left lane before they cut someone off who is more patient and less aggressive.

  8. report print email
    More Lanes Please
    May 31, 2013 | 03:26 PM

    Please make GA400 wider with more lanes. We need four northbound and four southbound lanes up to GA20 at a minimum but why not bring Forsyth into the 21st century and extend the wider lanes up to Hwy369. It would have been better to just continue the lanes instead of putting the concrete and wire fencing in the median. Now we have to pay to get that removed before the eventual and inevitable widening occurs.

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