Taking count on local traffic

This is one of several traffic counters recently placed on roads and highways in the area by the Idaho Department of Transportation.

Motorists may notice more traffic counting strips laid across local roads this September.

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Public Information Officer, Megan Sausser, said that the department usually does more studies on local traffic during this time of the year.

She said that while there are currently no plans to carry out any major projects within St. Maries city limits, the data that the ITD collects will be useful for future projects.

“We like to utilize this time of year to try and get a picture of what traffic looks like,” Ms. Sausser said. “The crews usually set up the counting strips in late summer because it better reflects normal traffic conditions.”

“In the middle of summer there tends to be more traffic and people drive faster,” Ms. Sausser said. “And we want to be sure to make the observations before traffic conditions are affected by rain and snow.”

Ms. Sausser said that the main focus of the ITD is to use the strips to count cars, she said that there may be some speed strips in the area but they could be in use for a project being looked at by local jurisdictions.

She said that you can tell what the strips are being used for by how many strips there are and how far apart they are on the road.

Single strips are used for counting traffic and strips that are doubled up only two feet apart are used to track speed.

Ms. Sausser said that the strips are also able to track what kind of traffic is driving over them.

“The strips can detect commercial vehicles by counting the amount of axles that drive over them,” Ms. Sausser said. “Getting an idea of the type of traffic and the quantity there is year round is useful for planning.”

The single strips were laid across the road in multiple areas along Main Street and other side roads in St. Maries last week. A few strips could also be seen on State 5 just outside of Parkline.

Ms. Sausser said that usually the strips will be laid out for a week at a time.

For more information contact the District 1 ITD at 208-772-1200.

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