LEDs to replace incandescent lighting across state

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By Carol A. Clark

New Mexico’s Department of Transportation began retrofitting 380 intersections throughout the state with Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Monday.

DOT signed a contract with the Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources that received a grant of $5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“The replacement of incandescent lights will be a major cost-savings for the entire state, along with moving us towards a greener and cleaner New Mexico,” Transportation Secretary Gary Girón said in a news release. “The first deployment alone of this project will save us $500,000 per year in electricity costs; and during these tough economic times with declining state and federal revenues, we can use every cost-saving dollar to safely maintain our highways and transportation systems.”

County Engineer Ted Garcia said this morning that lighting in Los Alamos is transitioning to LED as well.

“It’s an economical way of going green because LED lighting uses less energy and has a longer life span than incandescent lighting,” Garcia said.

The townsite currently has a mixture of both types of lighting but the trend is moving towards LED.

“We’re in a transitioning mode,” Garcia said. “On Central Avenue we’ve already replaced a lot of the roadway lighting with LED and have started replacing the lighting on Canyon as well.”

LED lighting provides better visibility for motorists by reducing glare, the bulbs last longer, which in turn decreases maintenance costs and they have approximately 70 percent lower energy costs, Girón said.

“Our partnership with the Department of Transportation will help communities across the entire state reduce their energy footprint and save money,” said Joanna Prukop, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, in the release.

The NMDOT is responsible for maintaining 460 signalized intersections throughout the state.

To date, the department has assisted in 160 retrofits including state and local signalized intersections.

More than 300 intersections within Albuquerque also have been retrofitted to date.

The first phase of this project has started in Transportation Districts One and Two in the southern portion of the state.

Districts Three, Four, Five and Six will cover the remaining portion of the state and will begin once the first two districts are complete. Both phases are estimated to cost some $3 million.

This project does not include Albuquerque and the cities of Las Vegas, Alamogordo and Gallup, which are responsible for completing the installations through a cooperative agreement from a previous grant awarded to them. 

The third and final phase of the project will make use of the remaining funds to install traffic control devices such as school crossing flashers, traffic control flashers and advanced warning flashers throughout the state.

For information, contact S.U. Mahesh at 490-0976.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505)662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.www.newsextras.wordpress.com.