Beaufort debuts the HAWK

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COVER - NEW LIGHTBeaufort County is nearing completion of the latest segment of the Spanish Moss Trail. In anticipation of its opening, the County’s Traffic Engineering Department is preparing to debut a new type of traffic signal in early February—the HAWK.

The HAWK, which stands for a High-intensity Activated crossWalK beacon signal, is specifically designed for pedestrian crossings and directs motor vehicles to stop for pedestrians to cross. A pedestrian will be able to press a button that will trigger three lights which warn vehicles to stop, going from flashing yellow to solid yellow and then to solid red and blinking red. After the pedestrians cross, vehicles can proceed forward.

The HAWK is sometimes referred to as a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon. These types of signals have been tested and evaluated for several years in western states, but are a fairly new concept on the east coast.

According to Colin Kinton, the County’s Traffic and Transportation Engineering Director, the HAWK will be installed where the Spanish Moss Trail crosses Robert Smalls Parkway between Neil Road and Salem Road.

An expected challenge to overcome is driver and pedestrian habits and expectations, so the County urges motorists traveling in this area to be strongly aware of the new signal and pedestrians. Pedestrians waiting to cross should always remember to push the button at the crosswalk and wait for all traffic to come to a
complete stop.

HAWK traffic signal will be the first in Beaufort County and only the second one of its kind in the entire state of  South Carolina.