Lexington County Council is chipping in $600,000 to add “smart” signals at nine intersections on busy thoroughfares in Lexington.
That green light comes after council members agreed the extra signals should lessen delays significantly for commuters, ambulances and fire trucks in and around the steadily growing town of 18,000 residents.
Lexington's plan to ease traffic flow on congested town roads with signals that adapt with traffic flow is now a partnership with county officials.
It’s vital to make sure that traffic problems in town aren’t shifted to its outskirts, county officials said.
“Everything will bottleneck elsewhere if we don’t do this,” Councilman Todd Cullum of Cayce said.
Mile-long backups are common during rush hour in the community.
Plans call for the computerized network of 35 signals on U.S. 1, U.S. 378 and S.C. 6 – major routes that converge in the center of town – to debut in the fall.
“It will make a significant difference on our congestion,” town Mayor Steve MacDougall said. “It’s not a fix-all, but it will have a tremendous impact on congestion, more than anything else we could have spent money on.”
The $5.8 million network will improve flow by creating what’s called a “green-light tunnel” when traffic is heavy, town officials say.
It also will reduce crashes and pollution as well as shorten commutes, they add.
Reliance on digital technology seems to be a quicker and cheaper way to lessen traffic jams as road improvements become more expensive and money for them in short supply, Town Administrator Britt Poole said.
Lexington’s new signals are a test that state transportation officials will weigh for use elsewhere.