The intersection at Whaley and Main streets - notorious for flash floods that swallow cars - now has a lighted warning system designed to alert motorists and pedestrians of flash flooding.
The lights are triggered from a rain gauge in Rocky Branch, which runs under Main Street near a railroad trestle and the University of South Carolina's intramural fields. Once the rain reaches a certain level, a sensor alerts the city's 911 staff, then city engineer Joey Jaco turns on the lights.
Jaco said the system cost about $6,000; city staff installed it. Getting someone else to do it would have cost about $40,000, he said.
City officials already are automatically called when the creek reaches a certain level so they can put up barricades to keep people out of the intersection.
Through the years, many a motorist has gotten stuck, sometimes dangerously so, in the rising waters.
Interim City Manager Steve Gantt said he hopes to install some gates soon that will automatically close the street to traffic when the creek gets too high, much like the gates at railroad crossings.
- Adam Beam