CHP to test ShotSpotter tech along Highway 4 in Contra Costa County

MARTINEZ Calif. (KGO) -- There's a warning from Caltrans and the CHP Thursday to motorists in Contra Costa County that they may experience traffic delays and the sound of gunfire.

It's happening on Highway 4, where crews will test a new ShotSpotter system, part of a larger effort to curb gun violence.

Eventually it will be on both I-80 and Highway 4.

"This is going to help us deter any future gun violence," said CHP Contra Costa County Capt. Dan Seaman.

The CHP will be closing stretches of State Route 4 on Thursday night to begin testing new ShotSpotter technology that has been installed along several East Bay highways plagued by shootings in recent years.

"It's going to be a combination of live fire and live ammunition for the different acoustics for the calibration of the ShotSpotter sensors," Seaman said.

The ShotSpotters can locate gunfire within 25 meters of its origin.

The devices are part of a larger system that will eventually include cameras and license plate readers, a comprehensive network designed to solve the type of shootings that have claimed six lives in recent years.

The hope is that the system will also act as a deterrent. "During a wiretap investigation, we actually heard criminals talking about how they needed to avoid certain stretches of freeway because there were cameras up," said Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox.

RELATED: Pregnant mother of 4 killed in shooting on Hwy 4 in Pittsburg

The CHP reports there have been 136 freeway shootings in the nine Bay Area counties since late 2015. About a third of those have occurred in Contra Costa County, on highways 4 and 24 and along Interstate 80 near Richmond and San Pablo.

ShotSpotter is in use in many cities around California, but never before on a freeway.

"This is the first use of shot spotter on a linear freeway system," Caltrans District 4's Dan McElhinney said.

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