Fourth Speed Camera Going Up This Week

By Jeff Raasch, Reporter

Radar-enabled speed cameras are attached to a sign post as traffic moves along northbound Interstate 380 near the Diagonal Dr. SW exit on Friday, May 21, 2010, in Cedar Rapids. The cameras will record speeders and issue a ticket for the infraction. (Jim Slosiarek/SourceMedia Group News)


By Richard Pratt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Workers will install the fourth and final set of speed cameras on Interstate 380 this week, police said.

Lt. Jeff Hembera said the newest cameras will be attached to traffic signs on southbound I-380 at the First Avenue West exit. The work will take about a week, and then there will be another weeklong data-collection period, he said.

The cameras are expected to go live in mid-December, if there are no delays.

It’s good timing, Hembera said. During the winter months, police have often dealt with numerous accidents on stretch of the freeway that twists through downtown.

“When we do have accidents, it’s extremely dangerous,” Hembera said. “For the other traffic coming into the area, by the time they notice it, they’re going to fast or not paying attention, so the next thing you know, you have another accident. It can get pretty nerve-wracking up there.”

Speed cameras were previously installed to watch I-380 in both directions near H Avenue NE and to monitor northbound traffic at Diagonal Drive SW. Signs alert motorists of the photo-enforced areas.

Through October, more than 25,000 tickets had been issued from the I-380 cameras, including a Cedar Rapids woman who was clocked at 103 mph.

“Speed has probably been one of the main factors (in accidents) up there,” Hembera said. “So keeping people slowed down will hopefully prevent some of those pile-ups.”

The newest I-380 cameras are the last to be installed in Cedar Rapids through the city’s contract with camera vendor Gatso USA. Cameras also monitor eight intersections in the city to catch speeders and red-light runners.

All the cameras are live and issuing tickets, except at Williams Boulevard and 16th Avenue SW, where the stoplights must be replaced. Hembera was unsure when that would happen.

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