As a large winter storm moves through the area this week, Arlington Heights officials are looking forward to next year when they say a new road weather information system will make snow and ice removal more efficient.
On Monday the village board approved spending $65,000 from the capital projects fund on the new weather information system through a contract with Traffic Control Corp. of Woodridge.
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The sensor system will be installed at various locations throughout the village and will be able to provide valuable weather data such as pavement and air temperature, wind speed and direction, said Village Manager Bill Dixon. It will also be able to tell if pavement is wet, dry or icy, he said.
"We need to know what is going on villagewide, so we can deploy our resources the best way possible," Dixon said.
Similar systems are used within the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Tollway Authority and the Highway Department in McHenry County, he added.
"This is another tool in our ongoing effort to perform more efficient snow and ice control and keep the streets as safe as we can," said Mike Reynolds, superintendent of maintenance in the village's public works department.
One sensor system will be installed at the south end of town at the intersection of Wilke and White Oak roads, and the other will be on the north end of town at Windsor and Valley roads, Reynolds said. The village owns both intersections and won't need to make any major changes to install the system, he said.
Reynolds said that if the program is successful, the department would like to add two more sensors in other locations in town, but that will need to be done in later years because of the cost.
This is the second year of a four-year program approved through the capital budget planning process; however, last year the bids brought forward were too expensive, so it was put off for a year to pool more money together, Reynolds said.
"Yes, you can tell what's going on by looking outside, but we have 200 miles of streets, and the village is 8 miles long," Reynolds said. "We are trying to get another set of eyes on the road using this automated system."