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City Uses Camera To Keep Traffic Moving

November 13, 2012, 5:55 AM by Kellee Azar

City Uses Camera To Keep Traffic Moving

The intersection at 41st Street and Louise Avenue is the busiest intersection in South Dakota.  Beginning Tuesday, a little change in the area could make a big difference in traffic.
That's because someone will be keeping a bird's eye view on traffic and changing the lights to keep drivers moving. 

Many drivers would say they will take any help they can get when it comes to alleviating traffic congestion during construction season. With construction starting near 41st and Louise Tuesday, they may get the help they're looking for.

"Having the camera up in the air, we can see what's going on better than if we were even at the intersection," Principal Traffic Engineer Heath Hoftiezer said.

It's so small that driving by on a daily basis you may miss the camera.  But whether you see it or not someone is behind that camera making sure the lights are changing at just the right moment.

"What we are going to have is a lot of traffic from all three directions but we will have to juggle it and have cues to get everybody to move," Hoftiezer said.

This isn't Hofteizer's first time helping alleviate traffic at this intersection; he already had a practice run back when the water main broke earlier this year.

"We have had some experience with these two closures. We actually watched it on the camera and made some adjustments to the traffic signals on Louise Avenue to the entrance to Walmart. We have actually a pretty good idea of what we are going to need to do with the south bound lane being closed and work being done in there," Hoftiezer said.

So as the work gets started, a delay is inevitable.  But Hoftiezer is sure using the camera will help.

"So you know it's a balancing act.  But while all of this is going on in the southbound lane we will have traffic backing up in southbound during the peek periods and I could see it going past 34th Street signal a little ways," Hoftiezer said.

And while the traffic camera will be in place, officials are still asking drivers to avoid the intersection.  The project is expected to wrap up by Friday.

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