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Charleston County considers $100,000 plan to install beach traffic cameras

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Roads leading to the Lowcountry coast are known to be congested, especially on summer weekends.

That's why town leaders on Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island and Mount Pleasant are in favor of Charleston County Council paying $100,000 to install traffic cameras at several locations.

"It's a pain in the butt to get here. It usually deters you from coming here at all," said Kaela Poulin, a Mount Pleasant resident who deals with traffic tie-ups on the way to the shore. "Unless it's early, early, early morning. Or dinner time. So yeah, I think it's a really great idea."

Poulin favors the plan to add cameras along roads in coastal communities so anyone can go online and see real-time road conditions.

"They drive a lot of tourists here. They create a lot of revenue for our county through accommodations tax. Through sales tax," explained Elliott Summey, chairman of Charleston County Council. "So I think it's important we do what we can to try to mitigate those traffic issues as best possible."

Summey supports the project because he says beach towns enhance county revenue. He worries traffic jams will keep visitors from spending their money here and hurt the quality of life for locals.

"We not only want to leave a good taste in the mouth of the tourists that come here," said Summey. "But we don't want this great asset that we have, which is our beaches, to adversely affect those who live here as well."

It's another tool in targeting traffic troubles along busy coastal highways.

"I think this is just a convenience thing that will also be a good traffic calming measure," said Summey.

Officials haven't confirmed how many cameras will be installed. But Summey said the $100,000 cost will be paid for with leftover money from a transportation sales tax project.

Charleston County Council could approve the project at its next meeting Thursday night.

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