By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
A busy River Road intersection in Fair Haven may get a red-light camera installed to catch reckless drivers.
The borough is seeking state approval for the installation of the camera at Fair Haven Road under a pilot program aimed at making roads safer, Mayor Mike Halfacre said.
Halfacre said despite River Road seeming to be a heavily traveled road across the borough, only one intersection’s volume qualifies for consideration under the state program: River and Fair Haven roads. Specifically, eastbound traffic.
“Which surprises me, because I think of the eastbound traffic being relatively safer than westbound traffic,” he said, but added a recent study showed there were 20 red-light violations at that intersection in eight hours.
The state Department of Transportation, which must approve all traffic cameras, is in the process of collecting accident history to determine if the borough qualifies for the camera. If so, the state and a private company would install the camera and monitoring equipment for free, Halfacre said.
Halfacre said a sensor on the camera triggers a photo to be taken and sent to the police department for review to determine if a driver has run a red light.
“There is a human who intervenes,” he said. “It’s not an automatic ticket.”
It’s also not a money maker, Halfacre said.
“It’s not a tremendous revenue source for the borough, but it’s a safety issue,” Halfacre said. “That whole River Road corridor is a problem.”
He and the borough council have been interested in red light cameras for a “long time,” he said, but have been sidetracked with major improvements along River Road the last year.
Fair Haven is the second municipality in this area to bring up the red-light camera discussion. Middletown is also pursuing the installation of cameras at yet-to-be-determined locations.
In other River Road light news, Administrator Theresa Casagrande said power company Jersey Central Power & Light has started removing the old street lights on River Road. The aged lamps are being taken out for free, she said, saving the borough about $6,000 to hire a private company to do the work.