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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

 

Florida: Extensive Sarasota-Manatee ITS delayed by high construction costs

"A proposed $51.5 million system intended to better move traffic on area roads hit a potential roadblock Monday. The Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization delayed a decision on a master plan and conceptual design for the proposed traffic management system, which would use closed-circuit television cameras, changeable electronic message signs and road sensors to improve traffic flow in both counties. Board members said they still support the system's concept, but they continued to question the project's escalating price tag. They also accused the Florida Department of Transportation of not seriously studying suggestions that could shave millions off the system's cost, which initially was estimated at $14 million. "

A proposed 256-mile fiber optic cable network would link traffic lights and video cameras at 531 intersections throughout the area. The fiber cable plant alone for this ITS (intelligent transportation system) has been estimated to cost $16 million -- that's $62,500 per mile, which seems quite high to me (although I'm not familiar with the construction issues in the area.) When Fiber Planners designs ADSS fiber optic cable networks for utilities, we find the costs run from $5,000 to $10,000 per mile. In cases like Sarasota, where the local government does not own its' own power system, the cost of aerial construction may double (due to the need for pole replacements) but still remains substantially less than the $62,500 figure cited. Even if the entire system is underground, I would still expect it to cost less than this.

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