September 18, 2021

Pinellas plans $11 million technology upgrade to roadways

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Leaders in Pinellas County recently voted to move forward on an $11 million project to add cutting-edge technology to two major roadways in Pinellas County.

Soon, as you’re driving along US-19 or State Road 60, sensors along the roadway will be able to communicate information to your smartphone using Bluetooth.

An app you’ll be able to download to your phone will be able to alert you to crash information in real-time, as well as tell you how many more seconds until the traffic light you’re waiting at turns green.

Tom Washburn in Pinellas County’s Transportation Department says it could drastically increase safety on our increasingly congested roadways as well.

“If a pedestrian steps off a curb they’ll get an alert in their vehicle and likewise if a pedestrian starts to cross and there’s a vehicle approaching, and it doesn’t appear it’s slowing down it’ll give a message to the pedestrian,” Washburn explained.

Sarah Hollenbeck

To make the technology work, engineers will have to install about 100 sensors along area roadways. It’s a process they plan to start in early 2022.

Pinellas County is getting a $4.6 million federal US Department of Transportation grant for the project, and county leaders will pitch in another $6.3 million to get it up and running.

It’s an investment they hope will make drivers’ commutes much smoother.

The Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grants are being given out nationwide to help counties and cities create more connected roadways using updated technology.

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