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LED Pilot Project: US 101 west of Olympia

  New light-emitting-diode (LED) lighting system on US 101
  View the photos for the Light-Emitting-Diode Lighting System project.
Adaptive Light-Emitting-Diode Lighting System on State Highways

As part of its  sustainability efforts , WSDOT is working on a pilot project to learn more about incorporating adaptive light-emitting-diode lighting (LED) systems on state highways. 
WSDOT currently uses high-pressure-sodium (HPS) lighting, spending close to $3.9 million statewide each year on illumination utility costs. 

An adaptive LED lighting system could significantly decrease the state's operating and maintenance costs while maintaining adequate lighting during changing traffic conditions. The adaptive system allows operators to remotely adjust light levels and turn off selected lights.

WSDOT's LED pilot project uses new technology that directs light toward the roadway in a way that makes it as effective as high-output HPS lighting.

First LED project: US 101 west of Olympia

Drivers in the Olympia area now see one of WSDOT's first LED lighting systems, a replacement of traditional highway light fixtures with LED fixtures on US 101 near milepost 365, Black Lake Boulevard. The project is a replacement of light fixtures only, not the poles.

Drivers who travel regularly through this area may notice a significant change as LED lighting is whiter and may initially appear brighter. 

The US 101 LED project is a system that allows crews to remotely adjust the light levels. Individual lights will be turned off remotely from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. These advanced features have the potential to decrease costs and provide environmental benefits while maintaining adequate lighting.

Engineers are testing the system, adjusting the light levels, with the final levels set in late April, 2013.

 WSDOT estimates the new technology with dimming controls:

  • will save more than $75,000 in maintenance and operations costs in comparison to replacing the system with standard HPS lighting, and
  • reduce energy usage by more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Public comments needed

As part of the project, drivers who have driven on highways where WSDOT is using LED lighting are asked to submit comments. Please fill out the feedback form.

WSDOT's ongoing illumination efforts

WSDOT's projects will focus on identifying LED technology that meets its Moving Washington  goals of safety, sustainability and efficiency.

As national standards for highway lighting continue to evolve and costs for LED lighting decrease, WSDOT may increase its use of LED highway lighting. These efforts, along with a highway lighting related research project with the University of Washington, will help ensure existing and future lighting systems are as efficient and effective as possible, while meeting safety and operational goals.