Beginning today, five of six photo enforcement cameras will resume capturing images of speeding motorists along Loop 101 in Scottsdale.
But speeders will have more notice than ever to avoid getting slapped with a typical $162 ticket: New yellow warning signs starting a quarter-mile from the camera locations have been installed.
Today was expected to mark the end of a month of transition in which cameras went dark as the new city vendor — American Traffic Solutions — installed all of its equipment along the freeway.
But weather-related delays have held up one camera at Cactus Road, Depart- ment of Public Safety Lt. Bob Ticer said. That camera is expected to be operational by Friday.
DPS has installed two new signs at a quarter-mile and 300 feet before each camera location, alerting motorists to the upcoming photo enforcement.
The agency took control of the freeway program a month ago, and is planning to expand the photo enforcement program statewide.
The new yellow signs on the freeway’s right-of-way replace the one large sign posted in each direction by Scottsdale when it ran the program.
Scottsdale launched its freeway photo enforcement program — the first of its kind in the country — in January 2006. After the initial nine-month trial program ended, analysis showed the program reduced speeds and the overall number of collisions while lessening the severity of the crashes.
The cameras were turned back on in February at the request of Gov. Janet Napolitano, and Scottsdale operated the program through the end of June. Scottsdale averaged about 800 detections daily with the cameras on, but about 9,000 a day when the cameras were dark but still recording data.
Scottsdale and DPS reached an agreement in June that will keep the six freeway cameras operating through at least Dec. 31, with the option for the contract to be extended through February.
Under the agreement, the state issues the tickets and assumes liability while using the city’s photo enforcement contractor and the city court to process citations.
The city continues to benefit financially from its roughly 135,000 citations, which have brought in about $1.4 million to the general fund to date.
Motorists traveling at least 11 mph above the 65 mph posted speed limit will receive a citation. Ticer said DPS has not yet mailed out any citations from July, when some of the cameras were operating.
American Traffic Solutions, which also has contracts locally with Mesa, Phoenix, Avondale and Glendale, referred all questions to DPS about the freeway program.
Meanwhile, DPS is analyzing proposals to determine which photo enforcement company will be awarded a contract to operate two mobile speed vans on state highways.
Ticer would not say who responded to the requests last month. Both American Traffic Solutions and Redflex — the two dominant companies in Arizona — have confirmed they submitted proposals, but it’s unknown if other companies have also applied. DPS has until mid-November to make a decision.
Meanwhile, on Scottsdale surface streets, American Traffic Solutions’ two midblock speed cameras and one red-light camera that also cites speeders through an intersection are turned on.
The mid-block cameras monitor northbound and southbound Pima Road traffic, south of Hualapai Drive, along with eastbound and westbound Shea Boulevard between 120th and 124th streets. The new red-light and speed camera is at eastbound McDowell Road at Scottsdale Road.
Former Redflex red-light cameras at Pima and Pinnacle Peak roads and Hayden Road and McCormick Parkway, along with a mid-block speed camera on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard have been deactivated.
• American Traffic Solutions is the new vendor for Scottsdale’s Loop 101 and surface street enforcement, replacing Redflex.
• The Department of Public Safety is the new administrator of the Loop 101 program, authorized to run through December with a possible two-month extension.
• DPS installed new warning signs that tell motorists when they are a quarter-mile away and 300 feet away from the freeway cameras.
• DPS is developing a statewide photo enforcement program for urban freeways.
• Speeders traveling at least 11 mph above the speed limit will be issued citations.