Your drive around Hilton Head might have been a bit bumpier this week. That’s because black “tube counters” are lining U.S. 278 and other roads.
District six traffic engineer Josh Johnson said it’s hard to determine exactly what the tubes are for, but it’s likely either part of an annual state-wide traffic count or a project looking at signal timing in the William Hilton Parkway corridor.
Darrin Shoemaker, traffic and transportation engineer for the Town of Hilton Head, said the S.C. Department of Transportation contracted with Stantec, Inc. of North Charleston to study traffic signal timings in the corridor of 278 from Squire Pope Road to Beach City Road and Gardner Drive.
Stantec did not return multiple requests for comment.
The tubes on Hilton Head are placed two at a time. Johnson said when two tubes are placed close together, the speed and type of vehicle can be measured.
“It makes vehicle counts more accurate to have two (tubes),” Johnson said.
The tubes work by pushing a puff of air into a counter on the side of the road when a vehicle drives over them, he said.
The tubes, which showed up this week, will likely be gone soon. Johnson said the tubes are usually only out for three days to a week.