Every traffic light in St. Charles County will soon automatically turn green for first responders heading to emergencies — the latest move in a $17 million effort to create "smart intersections" across the county.
Emergency vehicles now get priority at 210 of the more than 350 traffic lights in St. Charles County, but that number should expand countywide in the coming months, said Amanda Brauer, the county's manager of roads and traffic.
"It's designed to be seamless, so most drivers shouldn't notice a difference other than that some lights might be slightly longer when an emergency vehicle passes by," Brauer said.
The goal, she added, was to make it safe for everyone when first responders need to travel quickly.
Here's how it works: When lights and sirens are activated, GPS units installed in the county's fire trucks, ambulances and some St. Charles County police vehicles will alert the county's network of traffic lights about the unit's location.