WSDOT installs LED lights on Highway 101

ckrotzer@theolympian.comFebruary 23, 2013 

Crews will begin installing new lights along Highway 101 Monday that are expected to save money, reduce energy use and increase driver’s ability to see at night, according to a state Department of Transportation news release.

The state’s first light-emitting-diode (LED) lighting system will be installed to replace the old high-pressure-sodium (HPS) system along Highway 101 near the Black Lake Boulevard interchange.

“This is the first time we’ve used LED lights on a state highways and for most drivers, it will be quite a change,” said John Nisbet, WSDOT traffic engineer. “LED lights appear whiter and brighter than our standard lights. And those who travel the area late at night will see some lights dimmed or shut off completely.”

The new lights are part of an “adaptive system,” Nisbet said, that allows WSDOT crews to remotely adjust light levels according to traffic volume.

The new system is expected to last 15 years, reducing energy usage on the 88 light poles by 1.7 million kilowatt-hours, saving $75,000 in maintenance and operating costs.

“Over the next 22 months, we will look at how the lights function and analyze the cost savings at this location,” Nisbet said in the release. “That information will help us build a plan for more LED lights across the state. We have close to 60,000 lights on the state highway system and more LEDs could translate into significant energy and cost savings.”

The light installations along Highway 101 should be finished by March 1. The system should be fully functioning by mid-April.

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