Construction Report: Johansen plugs into grid

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska Construction is underway on the Johansen Expressway, but it's not the kind of project you might expect.

No road closures, or lights down, not even a detour, the project at the Johansen from College to Danby only has cones on the shoulders of the road. That's because this project is mostly for the DOT's Traffic Operations Center. Spokesperson Caitlin Frye says contractor, Fullford Electric, is running conduit that will allow a fiber optic connection to the center.

"So this fiber optic cable is gonna connect a bunch of signals that we have in town," said Caitlin Frye. "So at the end of the summer we hope to have about 10 intersections all hooked up."

If construction happens in this area, or if an accident happens, the connection will allow officials to change light signals remotely. Currently, if an accident happened on Johansen, a DOT official would have to be onsite to change the lights.

"This really brings our whole signal system into this century," Began Frye. "There are a lot of ways in which technology can make our operations more efficient and so that's really what we're trying to do right now is leverage technology to save money in the long run, make our operations more efficient in the long run."

This particular project will allow other optic cable already laid down to be connected as well. Five cameras and five new intersections will be added when this project is done.

For those worried about being on traffic cameras, DOT in Fairbanks has opted not to record their feeds. It is a closed circuit system, meaning other entities like FPD or AST do not have access to the live feed. Unlike other projects around town, these improvements are federally funded.

This construction is a part of a larger project that is expected to take an additional 5 to 6 years. The overall goal is to have every major Fairbanks Intersection connected to the Traffic Operations Center.