December 16th, 2011

LIGHTS OUT

Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

The UDOT lighting crew will soon start a systematic re-lamping of the I-15 corridor.

New, better performing sheeting on signs may eliminate the need for active lighting.

Starting a 10600 South in Salt Lake County and working north, soon crews will start working on Sundays to repair and secure areas where vandal have stolen  thousands of feet of copper wire from interstate lighting circuits.  First, High-mast lights, off-ramp lighting then and finally the underpass lighting will be re-lamped.

Overhead sign lighting that is located within areas of continuously lit interstate will not be re-lamped. UDOT is planning replace the sign sheeting on these signs with improved Type 9 or Type 11 retroreflective sheeting which will make active lighting unnecessary.

According to A.J. Kuhrmeyer, Government Transportation Representative with 3M, the FHWA, through the NCHRP, is currently quantifying whether higher-performing retroreflective sheeting is ample enough to eliminate overhead guide sign lighting. There is not currently a definitive study, and removing the lights is left up to the engineer’s judgment.

Kuhrmeyer points out some advantages of eliminating lighting:

  • Reduced maintenance costs and fewer lane closures
  • Improved personal safety since better performing signs are easier to see, faster to read
  • Decreased graffiti with elimination of catwalks in some areas
  • Reduced light pollution

Cost savings

The cost of eliminating lighting varies by location, but some metropolitan areas have enjoyed substantial savings. While not an official published study, the Indiana Department of Transportation eliminated 2oo signs for and anticipated savings of over $80 thousand, according to Kuhrmeyer.

Cost varies on both the energy and labor necessary to maintain overhead guide sign lighting, explains Kuhrmeyer.  State DOTs may save quite a bit when all factors are considered, such as the cost of sending out a crew to change a bulb, traffic control necessary, the per-bulb cost, all multiplied by the vast number of lights in operation.

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Responses to “LIGHTS OUT”

  1. Wonderful blog post! In that photo you provided, the signs are in Clearview – the new provisional font that many states are testing. Has Utah considered making a wholesale switch to Clearview? I know that signs installed in 2008 on Legacy Parkway are in that typeface, but that’s about it.

  2. P.S. Will those signs on I-15 in Salt Lake County be totally replaced, or will the reflective sheeting just be rehabilitated?

  3. The sheeting will be replaced.

    Catherine Higgins at January 3, 2012 11:08 pm
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