Installation of a camera system that uses license plate readers and live-feed cameras to cover lanes of traffic and alert police of stolen vehicles in West University Place has officially entered the second of two phases.

The Virtual Gate Project-Phase 2, which began this week, will eventually include readers and cameras at 25 locations within West University Place when completed by the end of 2021, the city announced July 14.

The license plate cameras will be equipped with similar technology used in police patrol vehicles that can detect and alert the police department of stolen vehicles, vehicles associated with Amber or Silver alerts, and vehicles that are registered with a record of crimes.

The start of the second phase project comes after the West University Place City Council approved a $1.7 million not-to-exceed contract with Minuteman Security Technologies, the contractor for the project’s first phase, on April 12.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the project remains delayed as West University Place waits for the city of Houston to approve permits for eight remaining locations. That phase of the project was originally slated for completion for December 2020 but now has an anticipated completion for December 2021, said Gerardo Barerra, West University Place public works director. Once done with Phase 1, the city will have 28 live-feed cameras and 76 plate readers.

The total cost for both phases of the project is $4.5 million, paid for through a certificate of obligation bond to be paid back by the city over the next 15 years.