Motorists navigating rush-hour traffic through the Evans Town Center should find the commute somewhat easier starting this week.
At 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Columbia County road officials will switch on a new traffic light system that enables the signals to coordinate stop and go lights.
"It's continually monitoring traffic and making all the adjustments it needs to do to keep traffic running smoothly," said county Construction and Maintenance Services Director Matt Schlachter.
Upgraded lights include those on Washington Road from the Evans Walmart entrance to the intersection of Old Evans Road, and those on North Belair Road from Hereford Farm Road to Industrial Park Drive.
Linked with fiber optic lines, each of those traffic signals comes equipped with a motion-sensitive camera and a computer to create an intuitive traffic control system, Schlachter said.
The system senses when a large number of vehicles gather at a particular red light, Schlachter said. It then changes the signal to green and follows the cars along the road, changing reds to greens as the traffic group approaches each different signal.
The result is to keep traffic moving in a steady flow and cut down on wait time.
The cameras replace sensors embedded in the asphalt. The cameras will not be used for law enforcement purposes, officials say.
However, the cameras can assist emergency vehicles as officials monitoring the system can change traffic signals to green to ease their path to an incident, fires or vehicle wrecks.
The upgrades were included as part of a $2.6 million project to widen North Belair Road between Washington Road and Industrial Park Drive.
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