What the Heck is That Tower for?

Pipestone Flyer

One kilometer south of Leduc on Highway 2A on the west side of the road stand two towers. They are approximately 8 meters tall and equipped with what appears to be lights, cameras, antennas and other gadgets. The mystery is that the towers look pretty sophisticated but to the average driver and passenger, don’t seem to have any logical or identifiable purpose for being there.  First guess. A highway live cam like those used by AMA (now 511) to provide live views of highway conditions and weather for travellers.  However, upon checking the AMA website the only live cam in the region is located on Highway 2: South of the Highway 2A Overpass near Leduc, not on Highway 2A. 

    The search for the identity of the mysterious tower was directed to Trent Bancarz, Public Affairs Officer, Alberta Transportation. Trent responded, “The equipment in the photo is an automated screening device for commercial vehicles. As commercial vehicle enforcement is now under Justice and Solicitor General, one of my colleagues in that department will be getting back to you with some answers.”

Commercial vehicles, the towers are watching you!

    It wasn’t long before my inbox received an email form Brendan Cox, Public Affairs Officer, Justice and Solicitor General. “The device in question is actually for enforcement purposes, but it's not what you might think. It's an automated screening system that helps our Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers work more efficiently. The cameras take photos of commercial vehicles, their licence plates and vehicle information numbers, and it sends that information directly to the weigh station in Leduc. It instantaneously gives officers information on commercial vehicles in terms of inspection records and things like that. If it’s a vehicle that's had some problems in the past, it would get flagged for inspection. Or if it's from a company with a less than great record, it may get flagged. It helps us select commercial vehicles for inspection that are more likely to have problems so that we're not wasting time inspecting vehicles that really don't need it.”

Safety features incorporated into 

system

    “It also has a thermal imaging camera, which can tell if a truck's brakes aren't working, or if it has overheated bearings or under-inflated tires and so on. This automated screening device is the only one in Alberta and the first of its kind in Canada. It's part of a three-year pilot project called the Smart Roadside Project. It's very efficient, and it allows the officer to zero in on problems rather than spending time on things that aren't.”

    Now that I have the answer to the mystery, I am comfortable the ‘Twin towers of Leduc’ are there to make our highways a safer place to be. However, every time I drive past the ‘Twin towers of Leduc’ and see the automated screening device I now know is loaded with cameras and blinking down at my Ford F 150, do I dare exceed the speed limit?. 

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Most Read