Highway 530 going solar

  • Thu Aug 19th, 2010 9:55pm
  • News

By Bill Sheets Herald Writer

OSO — Solar power is coming to Highway 530.

Not necessarily to buildings along Highway 530. To the roadway itself.

The state plans to install solar-powered reflectors on a 2-mile stretch of the highway between Arlington and Darrington today and Saturday. The reflectors are 10 times brighter than traditional reflectors, according to the manufacturer donating them to the state.

The installation would make Washington the first state in the nation to test solar-powered roadway reflectors, according to Sandy Lam, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Louisiana and Minnesota are also planning to install solar-powered reflectors but have yet to do so, Lam said.

The Highway 530 reflectors will first be installed as a trial. The reflectors and installation equipment are being donated by their manufacturer, Astucia, based in London.

The amber-colored reflectors are about 5 inches in diameter and a couple of inches thick, roughly the same size as regular reflectors except that they’re round instead of square, Lam said.

The reflectors contain a light-emitting diode, or LED, that stores power from the sun during the day. In the dark, when hit with headlights, the reflectors shine with 10 times the light of a regular reflector, according to Astucia.

“That’s what the vendor claims so that’s what we’re trying to see,” Lam said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.