St. Charles County nearly finished implementing new traffic signal system for emergency vehicles

Elliott Davis and Kevin S. Held

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – St. Charles County says its program to make intersections safer has been activated at almost all the crossroads.

More than 300 intersections have been adjusted in the county to allow green lights for emergency vehicles coming through, while all other traffic would get a red light.

You Paid For It first told you about this project last April. It cost some $800,000. The lion’s share of that is federal dollars, with 20% coming from a voter-approved local tax dollars.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann has been pushing this deal.

“It’s in full operation now. We have every stoplight in St. Charles County, except for seven, that are using this and are operational. The seven we still need to work on are at intersections that are under construction by MoDOT,” he said. “As soon as they finish the construction project, we’ll turn it on there, and then we’ll have the entire county covered by this program.”

Ehlmann said it’s going to make a huge difference for emergency vehicles and the motoring public.

“I think it’s going to improve response time for our police, our ambulance, and our fire, and it’s going to be a lot safer for people who are on the streets in those intersections when those emergency vehicles go through,” he said. “If you’re driving, you’ll have plenty of time to get out of the way, because those lights will change, so those emergency vehicles can come through on a green light.”

Last April, FOX 2 asked leaders in St. Louis City and St. Louis County if they would follow St. Charles County’s lead.

Despite the push by north St. Louis County mayors, the effort came up short on the St. Louis County Council.

St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacccaro pushed a similar proposal to implement intersection safety measures to the one-yard line. It won a preliminary unanimous vote in the Board of Aldermen, but ran into a roadblock in Mayor Tishaura Jones’ administration over paying for it.

But Vaccaro is not giving up yet.

“Next week, if there’s an accident, car chase, people are killed this year in car chases, something happens, and ambulance gets hit, all of a sudden it will be front page, and then they will be more anxious,” he said.

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