CAPE CHARLES, VA – In an effort to curb escalating utility costs, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) has initiated a pilot project to test new LED roadway lighting technology on the facility.
Three LED roadway lights, supplied by S&S Sales and manufactured by Beta LED, were installed near the 14 mile post of the northbound span on December 9. The pilot project will last approximately one year. During this time, the Maintenance Division of the CBBT will assess the amount of power usage and the long term effect the harsh marine environment has on the LED light fixtures. The LED lights could potentially use fifty percent less electricity than the current high pressure sodium lights. If the pilot project is successful, it could lead to a larger study of the quality of LED roadway lighting by expanding the test area on the bridge to one mile in length.
“We’ve been searching for economical ways to decrease our electric usage at the CBBT. We’ve already converted the bridge’s static variable message signs and nautical lighting to LED lighting technology. Replacing the current roadway lighting with LED lighting could be part of those efforts but only if the fixtures can withstand the harsh conditions to which our facility is exposed. There are also higher upfront costs with LED lighting but we’re hopeful that a lower operating cost could offset that expense,” said Bob Johnson, Director of Maintenance for the CBBT. Johnson also noted that the CBBT has investigated the potential to harness wind energy on the bridge and has recently evaluated the use of geothermal heat pumps at the new Southern Gateway Rest Area and Welcome Center, the Administration Office and the North and South Toll Plazas.