The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is converting more than 28,500 roadway lights from high-pressure sodium bulbs and fixtures to LEDs in an effort to improve motorist visibility, save energy and lengthen bulb replacement time.
The agency estimates the move will see $1.45 million in yearly energy savings with an additional $500,000 in reduced maintenance and replacement costs. The LED lights are expected to last 100,000 hours.
Lights are being installed on bridges and roadways, but MnDOT is also looking at doing the conversion at weigh stations, rest areas, tunnels and maintenance facilities.
“Drivers will see whiter light, but the biggest impacts will be a large reduction in the energy bill and eliminating the cost of bulb replacement every four years,” says Michael Gerbensky, signal design and lighting management engineer for MnDOT’s Twin Cities’ Metro area. “This means having our maintenance personnel out on the roadway less often, which reduces traffic control costs and it means improved safety. That savings can go to preserving our roadways.”
The Twin Cities metro area will receive the bulk of the conversions, with roughly 18,500 lights being changed by the end of 2016. The remaining 10,000 will be switched throughout the rest of the state by 2020.