The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will be conducting a three month reduced highway lighting test on three roadways starting on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. During overnight hours overhead lighting will be turned off on Route 4, Route 6 and Route 403. This is expected to save the State $400,000 annually while simultaneously eliminating light pollution.
“Safety is RIDOT’s number one priority,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “The Department has been doing studies for months to ensure that drivers using these roads during the lighting curfew hours will be safe.”
RIDOT has set up approximately 50 timers in all of the overhead lighting on Route 4 between Exit 8 in East Greenwich and Route 1 in North Kingstown, all of Route 403 in East Greenwich and North Kingstown, and on Route 6 from Route 10 in Providence up to and including its link with I-295 at Exit 6 in Johnston. These lights will be off midnight to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
This test is just one of several energy saving steps RIDOT is looking into. The Department has also been investigating using more efficient overhead lights as well as LED overhead lights. In 2006 RIDOT switched over all of its incandescent traffic signals to LED signals.
“RIDOT has reviewed the reflectivity of the highway signage and pavement markings in the test areas and have found them to be in good shape,” said Lewis. “The Department has also installed signage to alert drivers to this change.”
Turning these lights off during the late night and early morning hours when traffic volumes are very low will reduce electrical costs and preserve the limited funding that is available to maintain the State’s transportation infrastructure. Once this study is completed its results will be reviewed and only then will a decision be made as to whether the lights will remain off overnight.
In 2009 RIDOT spent $1.9 million on highway lights. Savings from this trial could be higher than $400,000 due to potential rate increases and an on-going conversion to lighting systems that RIDOT can turn on and off.
Contact: Dana Alexander Nolfe 401-222-1362 x4450