MUKILTEO — The Washington State Department of Transportation last month wrapped up a lighting overhaul along highways in Snohomish County, finishing with a four-mile stretch on the Mukilteo Speedway.
Work also was done in Island, King, Skagit and Whatcom counties over the past year and will finish up in Thurston County in April.
The yearlong $4.6 million project takes the state in a new direction for lighting that is primarily aimed at saving money.
Street lights were converted to more energy efficient LED luminaires. Crews also removed some lighting poles that were no longer considered necessary based on new crash research. The new lights also emit a whiter light, improving visibility for drivers.
In all, 1,974 lights will have been updated to LED technology and 505 removed statewide when the project is complete.
The new lights can be modified later to allow them to be remotely dimmed based on the amount of daylight, which can offer further cost savings. That improvement was first tested in the Olympia area and expanded to Lacey and Tumwater. The technology could be added to other lights when there’s money to do so, said Barbara LaBoe, a WSDOT spokeswoman.
Before the updates, WSDOT had been spending nearly $3.8 million per year on roadway lighting utility costs. Beyond that, it spent $3 million per year on replacements.
Staff expect to save $217,554 per year in utility costs and reduce annual maintenance by $36,900 with the updates. Over 15 years, the state expects to save an estimated $479,700 in maintenance costs. The first 12 years of that will be used to make bond payments on the project. Grants also help cover costs.
Besides the latest work on Highway 525 near Paine Field, recent work sites in Snohomish County included:
Highway 526 near Boeing
Highway 525 from Beverly Park Road to Serene Way
Highway 522 north of Woodinville, and near the Evergreen Speedway area
Highway 524 near Highway 9
U.S. 2 (one location) in Everett
Highway 204 near west Lake Stevens
Highway 532 near Stanwood and near Bryant
Melissa Slager: email@example.com; 425-339-3432.