WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The city of Weslaco has installed four solar panel traffic signs that display a driver’s speed. The price tag for each sign is $6,000 but city engineers said preventing a major accident is priceless.  

“There were concerns about pedestrians walking to school crossing the street that had significant volumes,” said Albert Aldana, city engineer. “We recognize that people when they see those devices and they alert you, and they tell you the actual speed you’re traveling. It’s surprising for some motorists to see, ‘oh, I’m going 35 instead of 30, or I’m going 40.”

The city strategically placed the signs in areas where drivers are known to speed. The city can move the signs to different locations if needed. 

“What we’d like to do is set up these devices to help us monitor the speeds and also to inform the public whether they’re going over the speed or not. Especially near schools, that’s where we generally tend to have a lot of speeding concerns,” Aldana said. 

The radar sign uses doppler technology to read the speed of oncoming traffic. The police department uses data collected, like average speed, to make decisions about whether it should increase patrols.  

“Radar speed signs also provide valuable information we can use to further determine what other improvements or enhancements we may need to curb the speeds throughout town,” Aldana said. 

Two of these signs are already up and running and city engineers said they already see a positive impact. 

“They’re noticing it. That’s what matters, that they’re noticing it, keeping at least the speed limit down especially around here with the school,” said Joe Mondragon, city engineer. “You want to be careful with the children. You don’t want to risk any kind of accidents or anything, especially with these curves.”

The city plans to install more cameras in the near future.