Cameras will monitor flow of traffic

Jim Blaylock/Staff
Traffic cameras have been installed at Belair and Cox roads. The lights will change according to information that the cameras gather. The cameras will not be detecting speeders or cars driving through red lights.

Columbia County residents need not worry about receiving a ticket in the mail after speeding under recently installed traffic cameras at the intersection of Belair and Cox roads.

"They are definitely not red-light enforcement cameras or speed-detection cameras," said Bobby Cato, a county traffic operations specialist.

Installed last week above signals at the intersection, the cameras are part of a state Department of Transportation project to upgrade traffic signals and detection devices along Belair Road from Park West Drive to Washington Road, said Mike Keen, a DOT area engineer.

The cameras mainly detect traffic from side streets and left-turn lanes, prompting the signal to change, Mr. Cato said. Columbia County already has detection cameras for traffic coming out of Columbia Plaza at Davis and Washington roads and at the newly upgraded traffic light in Harlem.

The Belair Road cameras, which are not yet operational, will replace other forms of traffic detection, including in-ground pressure loops. Mr. Keen said the project, scheduled to be complete by late fall, also includes installing new control cabinets and tying all the intersections together with fiber-optic cable to maintain traffic flow.

Mr. Keen said he expects the cameras will switch on toward the end of the project once most of the other installations are complete.

"We don't even have a request for red-light running cameras," he said. "That is a totally different set of cameras."

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110, or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.