Thursday, September 13, 2012
An automated speed-enforcement camera will be placed in a construction zone on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass beginning next Monday, Sept. 17, in an attempt to slow drivers and improve safety.
Travelers passing through the five-mile-long work zone of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East - Hyak to Keechelus Dam project - will see signs warning "Speed limit photo enforced."
The Washington State Legislature directed the state's Department of Transportation to use the automated speed-enforcement cameras in active construction zones as a pilot program that ends June 2013.
When winter weather hits and construction moves off the I-90 roadway, transporation officials will move the program to another location. In 2008 and 2009, the cameras were used in two work zones on Interstate 5 south of Olympia, and they helped reduce speeds in both areas.
A small sport utility vehicle parked near the highway will monitor speeds both eastbound and westbound and a camera will capture the rear license plates of speeding vehicles. Drivers caught speeding by automated enforcement in the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass work zone could face a $137 citation.
"A successful program for us isn't about the number of citations, it's about lowering speeds. We want drivers to slow down for their safety and construction crews," said John Nisbet, traffic operations director for the state.
The automated speed-enforcement camera is part of WSDOT's Give 'em A Brake program, which encourages drivers to slow down in work zones.
Slowing drivers down not only protects the workers, but it also protects the drivers themselves. Nationally, more than 90 percent of work-zone-related injuries involve drivers and their passengers.
If a car's license plate is photographed speeding through the work zone, the vehicle's registered owner receives the citation within 14 days.
A citation is similar to a parking ticket in that it does not go on the permanent driving record. Washington state contracted with American Traffic Solutions to run the program. The Washington State Patrol reviews and certifies each infraction.
Washington State Patrol troopers will also continue traditional speed enforcement in the work zone. The fine for a speeding citation issued by a police officer can exceed $400