JACKSON, KY – (April 14, 2005) -- Contractors will be in the 10-county District 10 area next week to complete the process of replacing incandescent bulbs in traffic signals with light emitting diode (LED) units.
Work will begin Monday in Morgan and Estill counties, then will proceed to seven other counties in the district. All traffic signals in Breathitt County have already been converted, and approximately 75 percent of the signals and flashers in Perry and Morgan counties have been converted, so the bulk of the upcoming conversion work will take place in Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Owsley, Powell and Wolfe counties. The entire project is expected to take seven to 10 days to complete.
The work is part of a statewide initiative to replace the traditional light bulbs in all traffic signals and warning beacons (flashing yellow caution and red stoplights, school zone markers and pedestrian crossing markers) with the LED units. LEDs last longer, use less energy, and are brighter and thus easier for motorists to see. The result is a safer traveling experience for drivers using Kentucky roads, and significant savings of tax dollars.
Two years ago, the state began replacing burned out bulbs with LED units, as well as using LED units in all new installations. The cost savings are significant, from reducing the frequency of signal replacement to lowering utility bills.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet estimates that the conversion will save an estimated $1.7 million annually in energy costs and $1.5 million in expenses incurred in changing the old-style bulbs. LED units have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years, compared to less than one year for incandescent bulbs, meaning KYTC personnel will spend less on materials and salaries needed for frequent replacement. The personnel and equipment hours that have been previously spent changing burned out bulbs can now be spent taking a more proactive approach to preventive maintenance and better operation of Kentucky’s systems and infrastructure.
With the installation of LED modules, motorists should notice improved traffic flow resulting from reduced lane closures caused by KYTC personnel and maintenance contractors changing burned out light bulbs. Naturally, this also improves safety and working conditions for KYTC personnel and maintenance contractors. In addition, the increased visibility of the LED modules will allow motorists to better recognize the traffic signal at greater distances and in adverse weather conditions.
"LED signals are brighter, last longer and are cheaper to operate," said Linda Wagner-Justice, chief district engineer. "This is really a ‘no-brainer’ to switch from bulbs to LEDs. When this project is done, we think motorists and taxpayers will appreciate the safety and cost benefits."
Wagner-Justice urges motorists to use caution in work areas when contractors are replacing the signals with the LED units.
"The bulbs can be changed out fairly quickly," Wagner-Justice said, "but the process does require lane closures at busy intersections to reach the overhead signals. During the conversion period, drivers should pay attention to work zones at signalized intersections and follow the directions of flaggers who will be controlling traffic in these areas.
Contractors will attempt to schedule the work during non-peak travel times to avoid traffic delays whenever possible.
Once the statewide replacement initiative is complete, Kentucky will be only the second state to utilize LED modules in all their traffic and pedestrian signals school flashers and flashing beacons. Currently, Delaware is the only state that has completed statewide conversion.