Scottsdale accepts grant to purchase aerial system to assess collisions

The new aerial system would be used to assess collisions like this one in 2017. (photo by Scottsdale Police Department)

The Scottsdale City Council approved on consent the acceptance of a contract that would bring in grant money from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to allow the purchase of an aerial system to map and reconstruct collision scenes.

The approval came at the Tuesday, Jan. 15 meeting at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. The total amount the city would accept in grant money would be $31,746.

The approval also allowed for a budget transfer in the same amount from the Future Grants Budget and/or the Grant Contingency Budget as well as the creation of a new cost center that would allow city staff to record related grant activity.

City staff claimed the technology it is using to reconstruct, investigate and document collisions is outdated, thus prompting the need for the new system. Staff believe the new system would reduce the time a road is closed to perform the necessary tasks.

City staff cited how tourists and visitors frequent Scottsdale for its numerous events, leaving heavy traffic on its streets. Because of the volume of visitors, city staff say drivers under the influence go undetected, causing fatal collisions at times.

When a collision occurs, staff says major intersections and roads close for several hours while an investigation occurs. This causes drivers to use side streets, resulting in “major congestion and dangerous conditions,” according to a city staff report to council.

“Opening the roadway to avoid further traffic congestion and allow citizens and visitors to move throughout the city easily is important, but a thorough investigation is necessary and often times keeps a roadway closed longer than most would like,” staff said in a report.

Staff also pointed to a rise in fatal collisions — which saw nine in 2017 and 22 in 2018, according to a staff report — as another reason to accept the grant.

City staff also claim grant funds will reimburse costs of the equipment and necessary training to use the system. If the system becomes inoperable, staff say the department will look to grant funds first for replacement.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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