ODOT to monitor county#039;s weather conditions with new wireless station

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 29, 2003

They can't change bad weather into good weather, but Ohio Department of Transportation officials hope they can stay one step ahead of it.

ODOT District 9 officials finished installation of a new wireless weather station yesterday that will keep tabs on weather conditions in Lawrence County and allow for a faster response time.

The new tower and related equipment will enhance the state's Roadway Weather Information System by collecting data on the area's temperature, precipitation, and visibility during inclement weather. The information gathered is then transmitted it to road department officials so they can gauge their actions accordingly.

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"Not only is this a cost-benefit to ODOT, but it is also an enhancement to safety for the traveling public," ODOT

RWIS Coordinator Abner Johnson said.

The wireless weather stations are being installed in all 88 counties and the system should be operational by the end of February, according to ODOT District 9 spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller. Once the system is operational, the public will be able to access the information via the Internet on ODOT's web site.

Lawrence County is one of approximately 70 that have had a station installed. Also, 160 sensors are being installed on interstates and on high-useage roadways in urban areas of the state. ODOT District Director Gordon Proctor said these sensors will provide an accurate, real-time look at road conditions. They will also record traffic flow and volume

high-useage roadways, so that ODOT officials can monitor road wear and tear and adjust its maintenance schedules.

The new wireless weather system has a $3.69 million price tag statewide. Lawrence County's station cost $33,000.