Berlin Council Agrees To Fund New Speed Board

BERLIN – The Town of Berlin is moving ahead with plans to retrofit an old speed-monitoring board with a new, more advanced system.

The previous speed board, which has been out of service for a long time, will be outfitted with better radar and mobile Internet capability.

“The old board had a standard radar,” said Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing. “It displayed the speed, but we had to take it back to the station and plug it into a computer to track the data.”

Not so with the new system. Now data retrieval will be possible via the Internet, according to the chief.

“We can even check the battery life online, instead of having to send a car out to do it manually,” Downing said.

At a town council meeting two weeks prior, Councilwoman Paula Lynch brought up the possibility of replacing the town’s disabled speed board. Downing had agreed that the board did seem to have a noticeable effect on traffic, causing drivers to slow down if they saw their limit breaking speeds displayed in giant glowing numbers.

When asked about the cost of replacing the board, Downing estimated it would range between $4,000 and $5,000. It was learned this week the total cost of retrofitting the current board will be just over $4,500.

“We’re getting the upgraded board for free,” Downing told the council Monday night. “We’re just paying the three-year subscription.”

That subscription works out to $1,500 a year, but comes with a full warranty in case the board requires any maintenance.

While the issue had been addressed two weeks ago, the council seemed surprised by how quickly Downing had arranged to retrofit the board. He even submitted a purchase order, asking the town to commit to the subscription and to pay the first $1,500.

Town Administrator Tony Carson reminded the council that if it paid that first $1,500 it would need to make room for the same amount for another two years.

Councilwoman Lisa Hall expressed her opinion on the usefulness of the speed board.

“They use speed boards a lot differently in the west,” said Hall. “It seems wherever they have roadwork out there they have one of these, and they really helped. They work just like a police car.”

Downing agreed, saying, “Generally you don’t see them used on small streets like we are doing, but they work the same. They generally have the desired affect.”