Columbia County installing new traffic light system for ambulances

Columbia County installing new traffic light system for ambulances

"We presented the information to Gold Cross," explained Columbia County engineer Matt Schlachter. "They really liked the idea. They went out and bought their own equipment to get on our system. We're expanding it every day."

Expansion that Schlachter said is good news for getting patients to and from area hospitals in the event of an emergency.

"Basically GPS tracks where the vehicles are, it tracks when their lights and sirens are one, which direction they're headed, it knows how fast they're going," said Schlachter.

He showed me a map in the county's traffic control center of where they are busily installing the new system at intersections along the Washington Road corridor.

"As we grow the system, we expand it," said Schlachter. "Our goal is to get to the county line with Richmond County. Most of the hospitals we're going to are in Richmond County, that we're headed to. Hopefully we can get our ambulances there faster."

But it's not only ambulances getting the greenlight; Schalacter said Columbia County's fire department has been part of the system for more than a year now.

"Had great success with it, the firefighters love it," said Schlachter. "We decided to start with the fire department because their trucks are so much larger. Harder to stop them, harder to start them."

Schalacter said the system helps other drivers on the road, too.

"It's safer for the folks traveling around them," said Schlachter. "It allows them to make better decisions. It's a great system."