The camera is intended to catch drivers running red lights, photographing the license plate of the offender. Wayward motorists would then get a $70 citation in the mail.
The Rome Traffic Commission, which includes City Commissioners Bill Fricks and Norman Skidmore, approved the proposal Wednesday.
“This is something I’ve been looking into since I came on this commission,” said Skidmore.
Kirk Milam, Rome’s public works director, said the Georgia Department of Transportation will study the proposal before the camera will be installed.
RedFlex Co. out of Atlanta gave the lowest bid on the project at $150,000. The city will pay $40,000. The remaining $110,000 would be paid through a DOT grant. “We look at this as an opportunity,” Milam said. “The state funding is available at this time.”
For the first year, after expenses, the camera’s citations are expected to bring in $306,500, issuing approximately 15 citations a day.
In the first three years of using the camera, the total revenue is expected to reach $638,300. Officials expect the number of infractions will decrease as motorists become aware of the monitoring of the intersection.
According to the Rome Police Department, only four citations have been issued since January 2002 for running a red light at the intersection. However, in the last four months, there have been 16 accidents at the intersection. The accident total for 2002 hit 52.
According to Skidmore, the traffic flow at the intersection can be as high as 43,000 vehicles per day.
Milam said that camera installation at other intersections is likely, but is based on available federal funding.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Milam said a request has been made to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Mimosa Drive or at MLK and Turner Chapel Road.
The request was made because of the fatal accident in April involving William G. “Billy” McWilliams, 90.
McWilliams was turning onto Mimosa from MLK, but pulled into a path of a pickup truck, police said. The former president of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce was not wearing a seat belt and died at the scene, police said.
“In order to get a light at either location, (the DOT) will do traffic counts and accident history on both locations,” Milam said.
“When they look at accident history, they look for what could be correctable by a signal,” Milam said. “A signal wouldn’t altogether solve the problems. Frequently you have accidents associated with traffic signals causing an increase in numbers but a decrease in the severity.”
Two other possible traffic signals were discussed — including one to provide better access to Floyd Medical Center. Milam said West Sixth Street will become a main entrance to the hospital, and a light has been requested for West Sixth and Second Avenue.
Another signal has been requested for the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Turner McCall Boulevard.
Milam said he doesn’t recommend a light there because there is already a light at Fifth Avenue and Turner McCall