DETOUR! The Relocation of El Paso’s Traffic Management Center
CITY OF EL PASO TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CENTER RELOCATION
Location: El Paso, TX
Client: City of El Paso, Texas
Update March 2017: The El Paso Traffic Management Center Relocation won a Gold Medal (top honor) in its category, Building/Technology Systems from the American Council of Engineering Companies Texas Chapter (ACEC Texas).
The City of El Paso Traffic Management Center (TMC) is dedicated to the safe and efficient travel of the region’s 700,000 citizens. The TMC monitors and controls several hundred traffic signals and CCTV traffic surveillance cameras throughout the City for the purpose of minimizing congestion and expeditiously responding to incidents. It also shares mission-critical video and data with TxDOT’s TransVista Traffic Operations Center, El Paso’s 911 Emergency Call Center, and the University of Texas El Paso Police Department.
When the City of El Paso approved the construction of a new AAA baseball stadium for the El Paso Chihuahuas, the site needed to be cleared immediately of existing structures, namely City Hall, which housed the TMC and the City’s IT Network Center. To continuously monitor and control regional traffic flow, a new TMC had to be designed, along with the relocation of all City fiber optic systems coming into and out of the IT Center. Site selection initiated a rapid design and deployment project to establish an interim TMC in just under two weeks—an almost impossible task, but one of great urgency if regional traffic operations were to be maintained until the new permanent TMC became functional.
The City had two priorities: immediately move the TMC out of City Hall and minimize impact to the traveling public. System downtime was unacceptable, requiring unique, multi-entity-approved solutions to be achieved efficiently. Multiple technical challenges faced the team, requiring unconventional considerations and strategies. There was no disconnect between designers and the contractor since all were physically present and engaged without pause or distraction during every moment of planning, design, and buildout. Concentrated and meticulous planning, along with precise execution between multiple entities resulted in an unprecedented fast-track installation and integration of a major urban traffic control center.
The project was part of a revitalization plan for downtown El Paso, which has since experienced numerous benefits such as multimillion-dollar property renovations, new housing and hotel developments, and 24 new restaurants/bars. Daily TMC benefits include reduced congestion, enhanced incident response, effective communications, improved safety, and saving commuters time and money. The TMC relocation re-defined the method in which a large, complex communications center could be designed and relocated within a highly compressed schedule.