The Port of Pittsburgh Commission has agreed to a $1.3 million dollar contract with CONXX, Inc. to design, build and maintain a wireless network along the waterways in Pittsburgh.
The system will connect all of the security cameras along the rivers, allowing for better security from the Coast Guard's perspective and more efficient communication between towboat captains and dam lock operators.
The Port of Pittsburgh Commission's Executive Director, James McCarville, said the system will allow the captains and lock operators to do their job.
"Currently much of the traffic on the waterways will operate either by radio or even hand-written messages being passed between the tow boat captain and the Corps of Engineers as they come in and out of lock chambers," McCarville said.
The three-year project is funded through a $975,00 grant from the Department of Homeland Security and $325,00 in matching funds from the Port Commission. A Beta version of the project is due to be completed by August.
McCarville said the grant has been available for a while, but the commission is the first to use it in this way.
"For the most part [the grant] has been used for things like fencing, security cameras and facility improvements along the water ways," McCarville said. "This is the first time we're aware of somebody trying to tie all those things together."
McCarville said CONXX, Inc. was chosen through a competitive process because of their technical proposal as well as business sense.
"We're looking at this as a business that will generate revenue to expand and develop itself in the future," McCarville said.
McCarville said Johnstown-based CONXX has contracts with Allegheny County for other jobs, but has not done a project along the waterways before this.