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Cameras will go live for traffic on Tuesday

Speeders and red-light runners caught on camera will receive tickets starting Tuesday.

The Medford Police Department's photo-enforcement project officially goes online Tuesday, said Sgt. Bob Hansen. The decision came after a more than a month of testing and tinkering with the system.

Red-light runners at the intersections of Biddle and McAndrews roads and Barnett Road and Riverside Avenue can expect to get a ticket in the mail accompanied by photos of the vehicle, its progression through the intersection, and a close-up of the driver. The fine is &

36;175.

Motorists shouldn't panic if they get caught going through the intersections on a yellow light that turns red. The system only issues citations to drivers who enter the intersection on a red light from a position behind the stop bar.

These aren't your close calls, said Deputy Police Chief Ron Norris in an interview last month. The only (ones) this thing is going to pick up (are) violators.

Sensor strips embedded in the pavement note every vehicle that enters the selected intersections on a red light. Vehicles that turn right or stop over the crosswalk won't receive a citation. And seeing a flash of light at the camera-equipped intersections doesn't mean drivers have broken the law. A flash that lasts one-millioneth of a second goes off every time the signal turns red.

The red-light cameras have logged fewer than five violations per day, Norris said. Before the cameras were installed, police took reports of drivers running red lights at Biddle and McAndrews between 25 and 50 times daily, he said.

While Medford motorists may have curbed red-light running, speeding is still a problem.

In seven hours of testing, the police department's speed van tracked more than 250 drivers at 11 mph over the speed limit or more, Norris said. The fine is &

36;109 for traveling between 11 and 20 mph over the speed limit.

Digital photos of speeding vehicles and their drivers will accompany the citations, which are mailed to registered owners. If registered owners were not driving at the time of a violation, they can return a certificate of innocence along with a photocopy of their driver license to the Medford Police Department. The citation is dismissed if the registered owner's photo does not match the driver's.

The whole idea is to pay attention to your driving, Norris said.

Police and public works officials set the project in motion more than two years ago and approximately &

36;200,000 later in response to Medford's two biggest traffic complaints ' speeders and red-light runners.

City officials tout technology as efficient and cost-effective. Posting police officers at a single intersection 24 hours a day, every day of the year, would cost the city about the same amount of money as the entire photo-enforcement project, Norris said.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail .