Lightning damages traffic cameras

Lightning apparently damaged microwave equipment that deliver Tacoma-area traffic camera images to the regional traffic management center on Saturday. Crews are working to repair the equipment, but there is not an estimate on how long the area will be without camera images.

Initially five cameras were affected – including the very popular Tacoma Narrows Bridge traffic cameras – but most of the cameras in the Tacoma region are expected to be off-line as technicians repair equipment.

The camera images are used at the Olympic Region Traffic Management Center in Parkland to support regional freeway operations. Additionally, the images are posted on the Internet for public viewing.

“We can’t see those images at this facility; we can’t put up those images on the Internet, or put up the information on the Internet,” said Jim Mitchell, WSDOT freeway operations engineer.