New radars in LeClaire, the city hopes to reduce accidents

Two new cameras on Interstate 80 and Highway 67 will activate on January 5, along with a mobile unit that the city will place at random.

LE CLAIRE, Iowa – New traffic cameras around LeClaire – set to detect speeding tickets – will be activated on Tuesday, January 5.

One is posted on Interstate 80, just before the bridge that crosses the river and enters Illinois. The other is on Hwy 67, in the 2300 block of South Cody Road, directly across from Green Gables Marina. They will take the speeders in both directions of traffic.

The LeClaire Police Department said in a press release that they also have a mobile unit that they will place in random hot spots around the city, as needed.

The three Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) units come from the company Sensys Gatso Group.

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For now, all cars flashed by cameras will only receive warnings. From Friday March 5, these will become official quotes.

According to LeClaire Police Chief Shane Themas, the top priority for the new cameras is to create a safer driving experience in and around town. In the press release he wrote:

“While we know that the use of ATE is not often adopted by the public, we hope our residents and visitors understand that their safety is our top priority. Over the past 10 years, there has been a total of 334 traffic accidents on I-80 and HWY 67, just within our corporate city limits. These included a total of 552 vehicles, 3 fatalities and over 115 injuries. Unfortunately, a single accident, injury or loss of life is too many, so if this program can cut those numbers in half, or even save a life, we think it’s worth it. ”

Some residents, like Dennis Speth, believe the revenue generated from the new cameras will benefit the city.

“The real intention, I believe, is to slow people down. Because that starts a long period of activity. People coming in from the freeway aren’t looking. Coming in from the side of the canal,” Speth said. “I think if people just watch their speedometers and take their foot off the accelerator, you’ll be fine.”

Pete McBurney lives across the river from the Illinois side and says he uses the I-80 bridge every day. Even though he says he hasn’t seen too many crashes, he believes the new speed brakes will be good for the city in the long run.

“I saw other places where they put them and people paid more attention to the speed limit, so it slowed the traffic down a bit. I saw other places where [there’s] 40 miles per hour speed limit – people do 60. So I hope that will do some good, ”he said.

RELATED: K9 Officer Killed in Crash with Suspected Drunk Driver, Boone County Sheriff’s Department Says.

McBurney added that he worries the good the cameras can do will be overshadowed if overused. But until that happens and more cameras are mounted, he’s confident the cameras won’t keep tourists away from LeClaire.

However, not everyone agrees with him. Mike Trujillo has lived in LeClaire since 1960. He called the cameras “speed traps” and said he has never seen them in town before and doesn’t want them anymore.

“I don’t know why we have them now,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of problems. You could catch a speeder but [the police] are still sitting there anyway, so why waste our money? ”

He’s also worried that the addition of cameras might make people want to go through LeClaire – which would be a big blow to downtown businesses that rely heavily on tourism.

“We’re busy on the weekends here with all the business that we have here, and I think it’s going to hurt,” Trujillo said. “It’s a waste of money. I think they should have used the money for something else.”

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