TRAFFIC SAFETY: Kansas DOT, local university installing solar-powered lane lights

Experimental lights will make intersections safer, reduce light flooding

October 25, 2013

Kansas DOT (KDOT) and Pittsburg State University (PSU) are installing 600 solar-powered white and yellow lane lights at two intersections north of Chanute, Kan. along U.S. Route 169. The lights will replace existing street reflectors and overhead lights.

Although the project’s main goal is to make the intersections safer by illuminating the lane lines, it is still mostly experimental, as KDOT and PSU will:

  • Vary spacing between lights;
  • Test different adhesives such as grout, epoxy and silicon; and
  • Check the lights’ durability against traffic and snowplows.

If successful, the lights, which will cost around $100,000 to install, will permanently replace overhead lights. The cost to power, maintain and repair overhead lights at one intersection is roughly $20,000.

The solar-powered lights will also eliminate light flooding in the immediate area, as they shine only towards traffic. Additionally, cars will only be able to see the lights in the direction they’re traveling.

KDOT and PSU expect to finish the project in two weeks.