Timaru's first-ever permanent traffic counters will be installed under two of the city's busiest roads next week.
The devices will be installed beneath the road in Church St, just west of the State Highway 1 overbridge, and in Wai-iti Rd east of the Selwyn St intersection.
The traffic counters provide information on the types of vehicles using the roadway and the speeds at which they're travelling, allowing officials to better manage roadway maintenance.
“Traffic volume also affects the road surface and pavement," Timaru District Council land transport manager Andrew Dixon said. "Accurate traffic counts allow us to predict the life of the road and plan for maintenance and renewal in a timely and cost-effective manner."
The cost of the installation is just over $10,000, Mr Dixon said. That cost is covered by a 52 per cent contribution from the Government, with council making up the balance. In the long term, the permanent counters should prove much cheaper to use than the temporary counters, he said.
Data from the rubber tube model must be gathered by someone going out and retrieving the information from a recording device at the roadside.
The permanent counters are magnetic strips embedded just beneath the surface of the road seal across both sides of the road. Data from those counters can be accessed remotely.
Each side of the road has two parallel sensors that measure the time it takes a vehicle to travel between them, providing a speed calculation, and also detecting the type of vehicle, such as cars, trucks and buses.
Motorists will still see the rubber tube variety of traffic counters - the council sets up 10 of them at different points on a weekly basis.
But "traffic on a road varies, so the weekly ‘snap shots' don't always give a true picture."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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