Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) - The $2 million traffic signal synchronization expansion project recently approved by the City of West Columbia, the Town of Lexington, Lexington Medical Center, Lexington County and the SCDOT will soon have added features to help Lexington County’s emergency vehicles get to and from the hospital faster. Some of the county’s ambulances and fire trucks will utilize onboard traffic-signal emitters to safely and efficiently move through intersections with improved, up-fitted traffic lights. The emitters communicate with the updated signals to ensure that all the traffic lights turn green ahead of ambulances or fire trucks when running their emergency lights and sirens. Officials say this will reduce the time it takes to get emergency vehicles on and off the hospital’s main campus near Sunset Boulevard (Hwy 378) and I-26.
Currently, there are 12 Lexington County ambulances outfitted with traffic-signal emitters. Lexington County EMS has already budgeted for four additional ambulances to be outfitted with the devices in the upcoming fiscal year. The cost of outfitting an emergency vehicle with these is approximately $4,200. It is the county’s goal to eventually put one of these on each of their 28 ambulances.
Additionally, the Lexington County Fire Service has already outfitted seven of its fire trucks that respond to emergencies along the Sunset Boulevard (Hwy. 378) corridor with the traffic-signal emitters. The City of West Columbia Fire Department will also have the capability of outfitting their fire trucks with these same devices.
The expansion of the current synchronized signal system, which is being funded by Lexington Medical Center, is aimed to improve traffic signals along Highway 378 from Lott Court to Hummingbird Drive. Synchronized traffic signals already in place in Lexington have been proven to reduce red light times, thus making traffic flow faster.
West Columbia’s Mayor Bobby Horton praised the system which will cost their city nothing. “We are proud to be a partner in this project with the Town of Lexington, SCDOT, Lexington County, and Lexington Medical Center to increase the flows of traffic on Sunset Boulevard from the City of West Columbia towards Lexington. This project will facilitate EMS Services in reaching emergency care at Lexington Medical Center.”
The upgrade that will start being added soon will also include the installation of other helpful devices. These include traffic detection cameras, Bluetooth travel time monitoring devices,and pre-emption control devices. These monitor real-time traffic flow patterns and adjust traffic signal timing for fewer red-light times.
“The traffic signal improvements along Highway 378 are a testament to what happens when government and business work together for the betterment of the people,” Lexington County Council Chairman Scott Whetstone said. “This is a product of a great intergovernmental partnership, and we are grateful for all of the hard work that was put into this project.”