How police will use cameras on Interstate 81 to catch speeders

Virginia State Police hope to have a test run in the fall for speed enforcement cameras

ROANOKE, Va. – Your next ticket on Interstate 81 could come from a camera.

Virginia State Police hope to have a test run in the fall for speed enforcement cameras. Once that is active, if you’re caught going 10 miles or more an hour over the speed limit in a work zone, you will be mailed a citation for $100. It’s similar to the school zone cameras Altavista and Wythe County are using.


Right now, state police are still in the process of getting everything figured out.

They put out a second Request for Proposal (RFP) earlier this year. 10 News looked through the documents to find out what it would look like.

Signs similar to this one would have to be posted where speed enforcement cameras are on Interstate 81. (Courtesy: Virginia State Police)

As you are driving, there would have to be a sign posted saying “photo enforced” along with the work zone sign and speed limit sign. The camera is a little further into the work zone.

To meet the requirements, photo speed enforcement is only supposed to be used when workers are there.

State police say work zones are hard to enforce because the space to make the stop is often restricted and any extra distraction for drivers can create additional risk to the construction workers. But when troopers aren’t there, they usually have issues with speeders.

The documents said this photo speed enforcement has the potential to alter dangerous driver behavior and improve highway safety in work zones without some of the current drawbacks of traditional traffic enforcement action.

They’re hoping this makes people go the speed limit and reduces crashes, but they also want this test run to make sure it doesn’t interfere with the construction work, that the level of effort required by the state police is sustainable and that the citations are fair and equitable.

They will cite people with Virginia plates and those from out of state. The system could be used for up to 10 lanes of traffic during the day or night.

VSP plans to use the system for five different work zone projects for a proof of concept. Multiple locations could be monitored at one project if the work zone is in both directions of travel.

[RELATED: Cameras catch 300K drivers speeding in Virginia school, work zones]

If this works, there are more interstate projects where they could use the systems.

State Police didn’t want to talk on camera saying in an email, “We are not in a position to discuss the proprietary process.”

A state police spokesperson also told 10 News, “Based on the complexities of the process and this being a first for the Commonwealth, we are looking to test the first work zone speed safety camera this fall.”

In 2023, more than 300,000 drivers were caught by speed enforcement cameras in school zones and work zones going 10 miles or more over the speed limit. Across the Commonwealth, drivers paid nearly $20 million last year. A total of 13 agencies in Virginia used speed cameras last year, according to data from state police.

About the Author

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.

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