City officials have secured a $1 million federal grant to extend fiber optic cable from the existing traffic-control network in the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts to signals in the Dunwoody Village area.

Director of Public Works Michael Smith said the goal is to aid traffic congestion and provide signal relief, and he wants to extend the cables “as far as the money will take us to get 90 percent of our signals connected.”

“We have all the signals in the Perimeter area pretty well connected and they’re connected on the Sandy Springs side throughout the PCIDs,” Smith said.

Dunwoody officials agreed to put up $265,000, of which $85,000 was budgeted in this year’s budget, to match a portion of the federal grant, Smith said. The agreement to receive the funding through Georgia Department of Transportation was scheduled to be voted on at the Aug. 25 council meeting.

The plan would be to go down Mount Vernon Road, Chamblee Dunwoody Road, North Peachtree, Tilly Mill Road and “as far as the money will take us,” Smith said.

The system will allow city workers to use cameras to monitor traffic flow and adjust traffic lights as needed.

The cameras aren’t for catching motorists running red lights or ticketing drivers, Smith said. Instead, the cameras show the city what is going on in traffic, and provide the opportunity to make needed adjustments, he said.

City Councilman Denis Shortal asked, “Do we control the project?” and Smith said the next step would be to hire a consultant. The project will take several years.

The traffic management system can be monitored from computers in city office space as well as via laptops “on the go,” Smith said.

The Perimeter Traffic Operations Program, which provides another $1 million a year funded to Sandy Springs, Brookhaven and Dunwoody, will help pay civil engineers and staff, Smith said.

“A lot of that money goes to the staffing of the signal engineers who watch this on a day-to-day basis, and so the plan is to use some of that money to help pay for one of them to be here in the morning and afternoon rush hours,” Smith said.

Even if somebody isn’t sitting there monitoring the traffic system, the city can get a call about a signal that isn’t operating correctly and pull up the information for troubleshooting purposes, Smith said.

Shortal wanted to know about capabilities ChatComm, the city’s police dispatch service, would have, and if this project would be woven in.

“You can set up wirelessly, but if you want to have any kind of video out there to see what’s going on, that needs more bandwidth so the fiber will allow us to do that,” Smith said.

“One of the things we’re talking about doing with PCIDs and PTOP is adding some cameras in the Perimeter area, but anywhere we’ve got the fiber, that gives us that capability in the future.”

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