A Mesa-based company will play a vital role in a pilot program that promises to act as an early warning system to prevent fatalities and serious collisions caused by wrong-way drivers on Arizona freeways.
Contractors West of Mesa was awarded a $1.9 million contract to install a system of 130 thermal cameras on a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 17 through Phoenix known for a high incidence of wrong-way fatalities, including a collision earlier this year that claimed three lives.
The wrong-way driver and one of the two sisters who were killed in the April 14 collision were students at Grand Canyon University.
Keaton Allison, the wrong-way driver, had a blood alcohol content of 0.25 percent, more than three times the level at which drivers are presumed under the influence in Arizona.
The victims in the other car – Karli Richardson, 20, and her sister, Kelsey, 18, who was visiting from North Carolina – were sober.
If the new thermal camera system proves successful, as ADOT expects after a series of tests, it would likely be used in the East Valley and throughout the state.
“We want to play a positive role in this. We are energized and excited,” said Bruce Farmer, vice president of Contractors West. “It seems like we can’t go a week without hearing something about a wrong-way driver. It’s a very special project.”
It’s a daunting project for Farmer and his crews, installing the cameras that can track the motion of wrong-way drivers.
Farmer’s company specializes in highway electrical projects, such as installing the LED signs along…
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