Foley moves into phase two of traffic signal preemptive system

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 1/6/20

FOLEY - A year ago Foley Fire Department began phase one of a traffic signal preemptive system, which is equipment installed on emergency vehicles and select traffic signals. The equipment …

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Foley moves into phase two of traffic signal preemptive system

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FOLEY - A year ago Foley Fire Department began phase one of a traffic signal preemptive system, which is equipment installed on emergency vehicles and select traffic signals. The equipment communicates with each other to assist firefighters in navigating congestion by changing lights accordingly to slow traffic at intersections.

Phase one included five signals and five vehicles, while phase two will see two more signals and the department’s new pumper equipped. Recently, Fire Chief Joey Darby was contacted by the city of Orange Beach who are interested in helping install two more signals that will benefit their emergency responders.

“Orange Beach are in the transport business for EMS; they have their own ambulances and are actively transporting patients,” said Darby. “Their best route to get to South Baldwin Regional Medical Center is up our Beach Express, and our Fern Avenue Extension will be their preferred route to get to the hospital.”

During the initial installation of the system, Foley coordinated with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and determined to purchase the same system, which have been configured to work with each other. Orange Beach wants to assist Foley in adding systems to two intersections: the intersection at the Beach Express and Highway 98, and the intersection at Highway 59 and the new Fern Avenue light, both high priorities for them. Orange Beach officials expressed interest in donating funds to be used to expand Foley’s system.

“Orange Beach would buy the equipment, which is a little over $3,000 per intersection for hardware, and then we would pay to add it to our system, or we’d buy the service,” Darby said. “So when I bring the project there will be a little additional cost there, but it will cover our priorities down Highway 59, plus we’ll be getting two more intersections. I think it’s a win/win for us, it certainly adds additional intersections with minimal costs to us, it gives them better and safer routes to travel to South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, and it keeps them off Highway 59.”

Darby says his priorities will be lights closer to Tanger Outlets, which is a difficult spot for emergency responders. Additionally, Foley Fire Department has worked closely with city engineers to preemptively install these signals in the future each time a new signal is added. This way the system will be installed at the time the light goes into use.