Work began Friday to install a temporary traffic light at the intersection of Pope Avenue and Lagoon Road.
The light will stop traffic for Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division trucks and ambulances responding to calls from a temporary substation at the old Smokehouse restaurant near Coligny Circle.
"The signal will sleep in flash mode, except for when called into service by the fire division as needed to make sure fire apparatus can get out of the location safely," town engineer Scott Liggett said. "Other than that, it should not affect traffic flow through that area."
Liggett said the fire division awaits installation of the light before occupying the building.
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The town plans to spend $187,000 converting the former restaurant into space for department staff while a new station is built at Shipyard Plantation. The new station will replace Fire Station No. 1, 70 Cordillo Parkway, which was built in the 1960s by the now-defunct Sea Pines Forest Beach Fire Department.
Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue took over the station in 1993, when it was formed from the consolidation of the Sea Pines Forest Beach Fire Department, the Hilton Head Fire District and the Hilton Head Island Rescue Squad.
Fire Station No. 1 has "reached the end of its useful life," Fire Chief Lavarn Lucas said.
The new station should serve the town for at least 30 years, he said.
Lucas said the old Smokehouse location was chosen because it's on town-owned land, close to the fire station at Shipyard and has good access in and out for fire vehicles.