EDMOND — Two new engineers hired by the city of Edmond spend their days in a room by themselves looking at eight large screens on the wall and sitting behind a bank of computer monitors watching the traffic make its way through the city.
Work for Hamzah Al-Rashdan and Brian Hiney is going to get a lot busier as the first phase of Edmond's new intelligent transportation system is completed, possibly by the end of November.
They have been training for the last five months for their job that is expected to make the traffic in Edmond flow better.
When fully operational, they will be using between 18 to 20 different software programs to do their job in the city's new traffic management center located on the second floor of the Planning and Public Works Building, 10 S Littler Ave.
The traffic management center is the backbone for the intelligent traffic system, referred to most as ITS.
The system will cost the city up to $15 million once all of the five or six phases are completed in possibly as many years or longer.
It involves the replacement and upgrading of traffic control equipment at intersections throughout Edmond to facilitate better traffic flow in general, and to also respond quickly to specific traffic problems when they arise, said City Manager Larry Stevens.
"It is a computer-aided system that will allow city staff to real time monitor and adjust the traffic signals," said City Engineer Steve Manek.
For example, a car recently caught fire near 33rd Street and Broadway and the cameras let firefighters know the situation so they could better assist with the traffic flow, said City Traffic Engineer Tom Minnick.
"We were able to give the person directing traffic more time and help with the traffic flow," Minnick said.
Construction on phase one started in the spring of 2014 along Second Street and Edmond Road corridor, from the west city limits to just east of Interstate 35.