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Somebody's watching you on Interstate 95 here and you're now able to check traffic before jumping on the road
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By KELLY HANNON
Try not to make any obscene gestures the next time you're trapped in rush-hour traffic on Interstate 95.
You're on camera. Live on the Internet. The pictures are posted at 511virginia.org.
The Virginia Department of Transportation activated seven traffic cameras from Dumfries to the Massaponax area yesterday.
The cameras put an end to the traffic information blackout south of Prince William and north of Richmond.
Until now, VDOT has sent a safety patrol to investigate reports of collisions and spills to gauge their severity. Now, they can survey the scene on I-95 from the Smart Traffic Center in Thornburg and dispatch appropriate help immediately, said Tina Bundy, VDOT spokeswoman for the Fredericksburg District.
"It's always been our goal to have the traffic in this area monitored, like they do in Northern Virginia," Bundy said.
It's likely to improve traffic reports on radio and television, whose reporters partly rely on the cameras for information.
VDOT started placing cameras along major interstates and highways in the early 1990s. Installing them in the Fredericksburg area is another nod to the region's status as the fastest-growing region in Virginia.
A state demonstration project award of $400,000 is paying for the Fredericksburg area's camera network.
The seven cameras were installed in the following places:
Mile Marker 143, State Route 610/Aquia. This view will show northbound and southbound I-95, State Route 610 and U.S. 1.
Mile Marker 137, Stafford Regional Airport. Exit 136, the State Route 627/Centreport Parkway interchange, will be visible, along with the airport.
Mile Marker 133, U.S. 17/Falmouth. There are two cameras here: one showing I-95 northbound and U.S. 17 from I-95 to Truslow Road. Another will show I-95 southbound.
Mile Marker 130, State Route 3. Views include I-95 northbound and southbound, and Route 3 westbound between Altoona Drive and Central Park.
Mile Marker 129, south of State Route 3. This camera will monitor I-95 northbound.
Mile Marker 126, U.S. 1 and the Massaponax area. Traffic northbound and southbound on I-95 will be visible.
Residents can log on to the cameras on home computers or portable Web devices and go to 511virginia.org. Then click on the "Cameras," tab. A map of the United States will appear. Click on the "Washington suburbs." Trafficland.com, a private company, operates the Web camera site.
VDOT's Smart Traffic Center can adjust a camera's view, but viewers don't have the same power.
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