Zeeland to expand traffic system prioritizing emergency vehicles
ZELAND – Traffic lights in the city of Zeeland will be equipped with a system that takes control of light cycles to give the green light to police and firefighters when they go to emergencies.
The city has used the Opticom system at the intersection of State Street and the I-196 commercial loop for several years, and it was enlarged last year at three other State Street intersections on Central, Main and Washington avenues.
GPS kits in emergency vehicles communicate with the system and trigger signal changes at upcoming traffic lights to stop cross traffic and give emergency vehicles green lights.
The system also detects when turn signals are being used, Zeeland Fire and Rescue Chief Ross Tibbets said to predict the path of emergency vehicles.
“It works well,” Tibbets said.
This year, Zeeland will install the system at the city’s five remaining traffic lights: State and Roosevelt, State and Riley, Fairview and Riley, Riley and Washington, and Washington and Franklin.
Four fire brigade vehicles will also be equipped with GPS kits to connect them to the system. The city’s police and medical intervention vehicles have already been fitted with Opticom kits.
The total cost to the city is $ 49,298, split between the city’s police and fire department budgets.
City council on Tuesday waived its normal tendering procedures for large purchases because Carrier & Gable is the only Opticom dealer in Michigan and Indiana.
Tibbets noted that Zeeland could also install the system in the city’s snow plows to streamline their work in the future.