Cameras mounted near new traffic lights at the intersection of Bay and Carteret streets in downtown Beaufort will help traffic flow, but not be used to catch speeders or red-light runners, according to county officials.
The cameras detect vehicles as they approach the intersection and send that information to the traffic signals, which then use the information for traffic management, Beaufort County traffic and transportation engineer Colin Kinton said.
The cameras "are easier for us to maintain because we can adjust them remotely," Kinton said. "Also, we don't have to go out and close a lane of traffic to do maintenance."
The three cameras at the intersection -- mounted atop a new mast arm from which traffic signals hang -- are manufactured by Iteris, cost $11,768 and are not capable of enforcement activities, Kinton said.
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Bay Street converts to a one-way street at one end of the intersection, meaning cars can only approach the intersection from three directions. The three cameras will face those three approaches, Kinton said.
The county uses similar cameras at three other locations -- the intersections of Ribaut Road and Mossy Oaks Road in Beaufort, and in Bluffton at S.C. 46 and U.S. 278 and Simmonsville Road and U.S. 278, Kinton said.
The county, Beaufort and the S.C. Department of Transportation contributed to a $150,000 upgrade at the intersection of Bay and Carteret streets, complete with a new mast arm that city officials said will provide a "stronger, longer-lasting" way to hang traffic signals.
City manager Scott Dadson has said the upgrades eliminate visual clutter that includestraffic signals that "just kind of hang there along with the power lines and phone lines."
The city also plans to add new street lamps in the area, Dadson said.
The new traffic signals and cameras are expected to be operating in about a week, Kinton said.