CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — If you’ve been driving on Interstate 79 or 68 in north central West Virginia over the past few weeks, you might have noticed what looks like temporary lights or cameras on tall black poles in the median.
According to Michelle Oxley from the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) Performance Management Division, the poles are part of a traffic counter camera system. The camera system is used to get an estimate on daily and annual traffic volumes in the area.
Oxley said that in addition to collecting the number of vehicles that pass through the area, the camera also collects data on the classification or type of vehicles.
These poles are often placed in emergency vehicle turnaround spots on the interstates and attached to no U-turn and “Emergency Vehicles Only” signs. But at least one near the Jerry Dove exit on I-79 was in the median not near an emergency U-turn spot.
According to Oxley, all interstate mainlines and ramps are counted every year to gather data for planning and safety purposes. Some smaller roads are counted with traffic counter camera system every three years. Reporting of these numbers to the Federal Highway Association is required by the WVDOT, Oxley said.
On state-owned roads, traffic counters with black cords that go across the roads are used instead of the camera systems.