LEE COUNTY – Speed cameras are coming soon to a highway near you.
Lee County Supervisors heard an update from Andrew Noble with Sitestream LLC, the company contracted by the county to install and monitor the speed cameras, at Monday’s regular meeting of the board.
Noble said six cameras will be installed along Hwy. 218/27 in three different locations by the end of the week. He said the cameras won’t be issuing speeding notices until December 11, but they will be functional starting Monday.
“Construction starts this week. We’ll be installing six cameras on Highway 218/27 with three locations northbound and three southbound with construction to be completed this week starting Wednesday,” Noble said.
“The anticipation is that at the end of this week all six will be operational.”
After the cameras are installed and operational, there will be a two-week data gathering period for Iowa Department of Transportation. Noble said for those two weeks the cameras will be providing data only, with no photographs or tickets being sent. Following that 14-day period, the cameras will be operational for an additional two weeks issuing notices with warnings attached.
“These will be notices sent to people speeding past cameras. No monies will be owed for those notices. But we do invite them to go to the website where it will show their vehicle recorded by the camera,” Noble said.
Following that grace period for motorists, the notices will then be sent carrying fines.
Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber didn’t address how much the fines would be, at what speed fines would start, or what ranges of fines would be in place.
“And if they want to speed while the cameras are being tested, we’ll have some deputies around that can talk to them about that,” the sheriff quipped.
Supervisor chairman Garry Seyb said it was important for the public to know that the county would prefer not to generate funds off the program, but there have been too many accidents and fatalities along that stretch of road.
“This is self-funded by violators with 80% of the funds generated from speeders going to the county, and 20% going to the contractor,” Seyb said.
“The locations chosen were approved by the county toward the goal of slowing people down, not issuing tickets. The financial benefit is the byproduct of people speeding. The core of moving forward with this program is that we’ve experienced some pretty dire consequences to speeding. We want (motorists) to follow the speed limit through the entire stretch of the road. That’s our goal - to get to that point. So, no. 1, don’t speed and we won’t issue tickets, but we’d also like to see a drop in accidents and fatalities.”
Noble said Sitestream will issue checks to the county once every two weeks.
Iowa DOT is in charge of installing and maintaining camera warning signs, however the first two weeks when data is being gathered but no tickets issued, there will be no signs warning motorists of the newly installed cameras.
“The DOT wanted no signs during the data test so they could collect the number of vehicles speeding.”
Typically, you’ll see the people (passing) through your communities are the ones speeding.
Noble has been in the speed camera business for 18 years and helped install the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Muscatine systems over that time period.
Supervisor Matt Pflug said other counties will likely be watching to see how the program works in Lee County.
Noble said Lee County is currently the only county in the state with a program.
“This is a great guiding light, if you will, for county programs,” Noble said.
No points are assessed to driver’s licenses and the violations are not reported to insurance companies.
The cameras can also be used to look for Amber Alerts and for law enforcement to use in the event of accidents within the focal view of the cameras. Ron Fedler asked if the cameras could be used to monitor crossing traffic with so many at-grade crossings on 218.
Noble said the cameras aren’t programmed to cite for failure to stop, but he said the cameras will be about 300 yards from intersections because speeders tend to slow down for intersections.
Noble also said there will be a mobile camera that the sheriff’s department will be able to move around to trouble spots.
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Friday, November 10, 2023 Report this