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PennDOT's 28 new cameras to keep closer eye on traffic

| Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012,

PennDOT is adding cameras to major highways feeding Pittsburgh so commuters and emergency responders can get a better look at congestion and accidents.

The agency announced on Monday it installed 28 new cameras and is working to place about 40 more on the Parkway East, Parkway West, Crosstown Boulevard and routes 22, 79, 51 and 65, among other roads.

People can access the cameras at www.511pa.com by clicking a traffic camera box on the right of the page. The page updates every three seconds.

PennDOT now has 179 cameras monitoring major highways in Western Pennsylvania.

“They have helped immensely, not only in helping people plan their travel, but also in emergency response,” agency spokesman Jim Struzzi said. “Any time there's an incident, we can get emergency responders out there to help.”

TV stations also are able to access the cameras to supplement their coverage of traffic and morning and afternoon commutes.

Trisha Pittman, traffic anchor for WPXI-TV, the Tribune-Review's news partner, said the station uses the old cameras and intends to plug into the new ones, too. It plans to meet with PennDOT on Tuesday.

“The main thing you need additional cameras are for accidents,” she said. “There's always that one area, if a camera is not available, you can't tell when it's cleared up.”

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Michael Huss said cameras help his officers respond more quickly to emergencies.

“If there's a report of an accident we can get an idea of the severity and of a location,” he said. “People a lot of times don't know exact locations when they're calling on a cell phone.”

Lt. Thomas Dubovi of the state police barracks in Kittanning, which patrols Route 28, said he wishes more cameras were on the northern end of Route 28.

“We can look at the traffic flow and tell where a crash is and whether we can get to it by taking one route versus another route,” he said. “If we have a disabled vehicle out there we can get a tow truck moving a little quicker. ... It would be nice to at least get them up to Harmar.”

Struzzi said eight of the 28 new cameras will go up on Route 28 from the Highland Park Bridge to the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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