Gov. Northam announces plan to modernize lighting on Virginia’s roadways

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation will contract with Trane to replace more than 9,600 highway lights with light-emitting diode (LED) products, improving roadway visibility and energy efficiency.

The governor said new lighting will make nighttime driving safer in Virginia.

Officials say the lighting upgrade will reduce highway lights’ energy consumption by more than 50 percent and increase their lifetime from five years to 15 or more.

The project is in sync with the clean energy goals the governor laid out in his 2018 Virginia Energy Plan and in Executive Order Forty-Three which he signed in September.

Key improvements of the lighting project include:

  • Consuming 11 million fewer kilowatt-hours per year following replacement — enough to power roughly 16,000 refrigerators for a year
  • An estimated 8,800-ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improving drivers’ ability to see objects and people at night
  • Reducing crash risks, as fewer light replacements mean fewer roadway work zones
  • Saving taxpayer dollars through energy efficiency and longer product life

“This lighting modernization project will reduce energy use and increase road safety. It’s an important step forward as we work to make Virginia a leader in clean energy, and I commend VDOT and Trane on their work to improve our roadways, our communities, and our environment.”

– Governor Ralph Northam

The lighting project is expected to stay saving money for the state on day one, with a cumulative net savings of $4.6 million by 2036. It will start in the spring of 2020.

The overall project includes modernizing lights located on limited-access highways and associated interchanges, as well as VDOT-owned park-and-ride lots, rest areas and weigh stations in the Richmond, Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia VDOT districts.

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