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Dec 31, 2009 2:16 PM by Associated Press

Interstate work to aid motorists in real time

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Technology that tracks real-time traffic information along interstates 10 and 49 will be expanded as part of an $8 million project to help manage traffic incidents along the routes.

The project is being funded by federal and state highway money, said Bill Fontenot, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development district engineer administrator for the Acadiana region.

The project is part of the Lafayette Intelligent Transportation System Traffic Incident Management project.

Cameras and signs are on the interstate routes now to provide real-time traffic information.

The $8 million project will expand the infrastructure, including new fiber-optic technology, Fontenot said.

The new infrastructure includes more cameras, electronic signs and radar detectors along both interstates between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, as well as U.S. 190 and U.S. 90.

While the technology assists traffic and law enforcement officials in monitoring the roadways for congestion and accidents, it also can be used to notify motorists of traffic conditions and incidents.

"Whether congestion or hurricane evacuations, motorists will have the best route information via this system," Fontenot said.

Arcadis was awarded a $1.15 million contract to design and build the new infrastructure system. The Denver company has offices in Baton Rouge and Metairie.

Arcadis recently wrapped up the design phase and began construction a few weeks ago, said Jeanna Blatt, public relations manager for Arcadis.

A major part of the expansion will be a fiber-optic system along I-10 across the Atchafalaya Basin.

The system also includes expansion of wireless capabilities.

"The expansion of technology infrastructure is not as expansive as concrete and asphalt, which we could use more of to address congestion right now," Fontenot said.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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