The New Jersey Turnpike Authority took a step to improving response to weather-related roadway conditions last week when commissioners approved the award of a contract to install a newly designed weather surveillance system along the 148-mile highway.

The contract, awarded to Kevco Electric Inc. of Stirling, NJ, is valued at $2.34 million and will let the Authority continuously monitor weather conditions in all areas of the highway.
The weather surveillance system will be housed at the Turnpike Authority's Administration building, with remote weather stations placed at key intervals along the roadway. Sensors embedded in the pavement surface will relay pavement temperature data to the Operations Center and Maintenance Department, allowing the Authority to dispatch equipment to specific areas of the Turnpike that may have potential hazardous conditions developing.
"This weather surveillance system, combined with information from our weather services consultant, will position the Authority to quickly respond as weather conditions deteriorate anywhere along our roadway," said Authority Chairman Frank X. McDermott.
Construction is expected to begin in the late fall. The system, partially funded by the federal government, is anticipated to be partially operational by late 2000. The weather surveillance system will incorporate components of the Turnpike's existing Automatic Traffic Surveillance and Control System to communicate warnings of weather-related hazards to and institute traffic restrictions for motorists traveling during bad weather.