News roundup, Jan. 14: FMCSA grants waiver for mirrorless camera systems; I-59/20 bridges in Birmingham set to reopen

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, January 14: 

Vision Systems North America was granted a waiver by FMCSA to use its mirrorless camera systems on trucks in the U.S.Vision Systems North America was granted a waiver by FMCSA to use its mirrorless camera systems on trucks in the U.S.

FMCSA grants waiver to allow tech company’s mirrorless camera systems on U.S. trucks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced in a Federal Register notice to be published Wednesday, Jan. 14, that it has granted a petition by Vision Systems North America to allow its mirrorless rearview camera systems to be used on trucks in the U.S.

The company’s cameras are used as an alternative to the two rear-view mirrors required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

VSNA says its Smart-Vision system provides the same functionality and view as traditional mirrors but with high-definition cameras and interior displays. The system consists of multiple digital cameras mounted high on the exterior of trucks, enclosed in aerodynamic packaging to protect the cameras. Each camera presents a high-definition image to the driver through a monitor mounted on each A-pillar in the cab.

The company says its system offers increased field-of-view when compared to conventional mirrors, enhanced vision in inclement weather and low-light conditions and a fail-safe design with independent video processing of multiple camera images.

In its decision to grant the waiver, FMCSA says the system eliminates blind spots on both sides of the truck and expands field-of-view by an estimated 25%.

The I-59/20 bridges in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, are set to reopen on or before Jan. 21. (ALDOT photo)The I-59/20 bridges in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, are set to reopen on or before Jan. 21. (ALDOT photo)

I-59/20 in Birmingham, Alabama, set to reopen by Jan. 21
The Alabama Department of Transportation announced this week the I-59/20 bridges in downtown Birmingham will reopen on or before Jan. 21. The bridges have been closed for a year  while crews demolished the old bridges and built new ones.

While the closure didn’t affect thru-trucks, which are supposed to use I-459 to go around Birmingham, truckers with deliveries in the city had to use detours to get to those locations.

Construction will still be ongoing through most of 2020 in the area following the reopening of the bridges, ALDOT says.

I-20 bridge project in Vicksburg, Mississippi, begins next week
The nearly 50-year-old bridge over the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi, will undergo maintenance beginning Monday, Jan. 20. The project is expected to last into early 2021. During the project, crews will repair and upgrade the bridge deck, electrical system and roadway lighting components.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says during the first part of the project, travelers on the westbound lanes of I-20 across the bridge will experience lane closures through Friday, May 15. The construction will restrict vehicles to a 10-foot maximum width. However, 16-foot maximum width vehicles will be allowed to cross on Fridays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

No formal detours have been established for this work, and LaDOT said there will be no lane closures in both directions at the same time in order to maintain traffic flow.

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