Grand Forks has a new way for residents to keep up with local road construction projects. The city installed two cameras that allow staff and the public to see live action, still images, and time-lapse video of street projects as they progress, the Grand Forks Herald reports.
City officials say the cameras not only boost transparency, but allow drivers to better plan their commute.
“They’re pretty high tech,” Josh Clawson, a civil engineering specialist with the city who helped launch the project, told the news agency. He explained that the technology can be used for plenty of other purposes, like live-streaming flood levels in the spring or compiling a time-lapse video of public events. “They can really go anywhere and give you feedback.”
The cameras overlooking Columbia Road and 47th Avenue South road projects, are slightly different, Clawson told the news agency. Only the camera at Columbia Road has live-streaming capability, he said, but it has been turned off temporarily to cut down on data-streaming use. At the present time, both cameras are taking photos at intervals to compile time-lapse videos so the public can get a feel for how the projects are progressing. All the images produced by the cameras are available on the city’s website, grandforksgov.com.
The road projects on 47th Avenue South and Columbia Road are among the largest in the city this construction season. Along Columbia Road, crews are expanding the street to three lanes in both directions. During construction, traffic flow will be reduced to one lane in each direction until its completion in the fall. At 47th Avenue South, a $1.2 million project is expanding the road from two lanes to three lanes between South 20th Street and west of 44th Avenue South.
The camera on Columbia Road cost about $3,600, while the one at 47th Avenue South cost $2,500, Clawson told the news agency. The monthly data charges for both cameras totals about $350.
Peter Steele, a communications specialist with the city, highlighted the importance of bringing the city’s work into public view. “The city is committed to being a transparent government,” he told the news agency. “The more information that we can give to people, the better.”
The time-lapse video below is of the Columbia Road reconstruction project on Friday, June 6.