Orange traffic cones are up along parts of State Highway 525 — and so are new light-mounted cameras.
It’s the cameras that are capturing the attention of many motorists.
The cameras and cones are part of a $15.4-million paving project spanning from Clinton to just north of Coupeville. The cameras will be watching, but not for the reasons some might think, according to the state Department of Transporation.
“They are a way to tell the lights when cars are there so the lights will cycle through,” explained Andrea Petrich, an agency spokeswoman.
Transportation cameras are used for a variety of reasons. Some are recording devices that capture accidents, while others monitor traffic or weather conditions with feeds that can be viewed online; several of the latter are in Clinton on Highway 525 at and around the Clinton Ferry Terminal.
These won’t do any of those things, Petrich said.
The planned road work is extensive, and requires shutting off the pressure switches under the pavement that currently communicates with traffic lights when cars are present.
The cameras are an optical alternative, and a temporary one.
“These cameras are only to help the stoplight cycle based on traffic that is waiting and will come down once the highway is repaved,” she said.
The cameras are being installed at all the highway intersections with lights currently operated by pressure switches.
The intersections are at Cultus Bay/Langley, Maxwelton, Bayview Road and Fish roads on South Whidbey, and the intersection of Main Street and State Highway 20 in Coupeville.
Preliminary work on the approximately 30-mile project began Sunday. The firstphase will see improvements to crosswalks and sidewalks to make sure they arecompliant with the American Disabilities Act.
Much of the construction is planned to take place at night between the hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Also, work is limited to weekdays. The bulk of the project requires little or no rain — laying asphalt — so the start date is weather dependent. Workcould be begin during spring but won’t likely start until summer.
“It will be later this summer, probably June/July but it’s going to depend; if spring actually arrives, we may actually be able to get that done sooner,” she said.