Highway 47, Stub Stewart, Tophill

Highway 47 will gain two traffic cameras near Stub Stewart State Park

The entrance to Stub Stewart State Park. Photo: Chas Hundley

Two traffic cameras are expected to go live near Stub Stewart State Park sometime in March or April, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

Most major electrical work has been completed,” said Lou Torres, a public information officer for ODOT in an email to the Banks Post. Work still to be done includes installation of wiring and configuration of the devices.

“Both cameras will include weather information,” Don Hamilton, also a public information officer with ODOT, said. “This information typically includes temperature, surface temperature, elevation (helpful for the mountain cameras), wind speed, precipitation and humidity. And when ready, both will be part of the TripCheck camera network.”

The cameras aren’t the only traffic cameras to be installed in the region recently. A camera and weather station in what might be considered downtown Timber at Timber Road and Railroad Avenue was added to Tripcheck on February 11. The weather station portion of that installation is expected to go live after additional work is done by the county, according to Heather Sturgill, a public information officer with Washington County Land Use and Transportation.

Another county installation in Gales Creek at the junction of Highways 6 and 8 is also expected to go live on the same timetable as those near Stub Stewart, a spokesperson for ODOT said. Because that camera is in the ODOT right of way, maintenance of the camera was turned over to ODOT.

Every few minutes, the cameras snap a photo, which ends up on ODOT’s Tripcheck.com, and in Washington County, on wc-roads.com. The cameras are used by motorists, commercial drivers, newscasters, and more to check road and weather conditions. 

In a phone call with the Gales Creek Journal, Washington County Land Use and Transportation  Principal Planner John Fasana outlined the process by which an image and weather data is captured and eventually ends up online for the county-owned camera in Timber and elsewhere. 

“Our plan is to provide as much of this information we can onto Tripcheck as a platform for the public to be able to go and get it, that’s kind of the one stop shop for traveler information,” Fasana said. 

Generally, the installations have similar devices, though individual camera and weather station sites may vary depending on the local conditions, Fasanna said. A camera that captures still images, two weather devices, including a pavement sensor to capture temperature, and a smart weather sensor that captures data from the air, such as air pressure and wind speed, relative humidity, dew point, and air temperature are common. The components operate on cell service, sending images and weather data over a cellular signal to the county, and are hard wired into the local electric utility company. 

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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