EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle officials said Tuesday they will soon install cameras at the two major beach accesses and will eventually supply free wireless internet service at those facilities.
In a release on the town’s website, officials said cameras at the Eastern and Western ocean regional accesses will provide the public real-time views of the town-owned parking lots, which are managed by private company NCParking. Other cameras will also show views of the public oceanfront.
The beach access cameras have long been a goal of the town, in part because they will enable beachgoers to see if the parking lots are full, helping to reduce traffic congestion along Highway 58.
“The cameras are also anticipated to reduce the frustration of motorists looking to secure a public parking space,” public information officer Anna Smith said in the release.
Traffic on the busy, two-lane highway often backs up, especially when motorists try to get into the the full lots.
Separate cameras focused on the respective beaches will be installed at the two accesses. Officials said the beach-view cameras are intended to increase public safety by allowing residents and visitors to remotely see ocean conditions and enable rescue team personnel and town police.
“During a … hurricane, video footage of the ocean front may prove beneficial to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” Ms. Smith added.
Wi-Fi at the accesses is also intended to benefit residents and visitors, as cell phone service and internet connections can often be sketchy on the beach.
The town will own and operate the new cameras, and officials say they will not be used by NCParking to perform enforcement or secure license plate data.
There is no hard installation date for the effort, Ms. Smith said. The cameras and Wi-Fi service will be added in coming weeks to the Emerald Isle App, which is available free from the Apple Store and the Google Play store.
There are three cameras already on the app, showing real-time traffic along a busy stretch of Highway 58. One shows an east view of Emerald Drive by the Speedway gas station, the second shows the northwest view toward the high-rise bridge and the third is a southeast look down Coast Guard Road, the major artery to numerous subdivisions and The Point at Bogue Inlet.
Ms. Smith said Wednesday the town has “received great feedback from the public about our first set of traffic cameras.”
Disclosure: Anna Smith is the wife of News-Times reporter J.J. Smith, who was not involved in the reporting or production of this article.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.