Downtown gets green light for new signals

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 31, 2008

Motorists around the downtown area Wednesday may have noticedthings are looking a little brighter in a few of theintersections.

Brookhaven Public Works Director Steve Moreton said the newLight Emitting Diode (LED) traffic signals that are being installedat four downtown intersections were a move that had to be madebecause the old lights were wearing out and parts were getting hardto come by. So, he said, it was out with the old and in with thenew.

“They’re outdated, you can’t get parts on them and they’re justworn slap out,” he said of the old signals. “B&B Electric wasable to help us out in replacing them, so that’s what we finallydid. These lights are probably 30-40 years old, and they’ve used uptheir lives.”

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Electric crews worked intermittently between storms throughoutthe day Wednesday and into Thursday to change out the lights at theintersections of West Cherokee and South Jackson streets, WhitworthAvenue and West Cherokee Street, Railroad Avenue and East CherokeeStreet, and South First Street and East Cherokee Street, Moretonsaid.

The LED signals are not just trendy and a good choice because ofthe brightness factor, Moreton said, but they will also save thecity a fist full of cash. Adding LED stop lights will cut as muchas 75 percent off the cost of electricity for thoseintersections.

“The electrical savings we’ll see will make a great difference,”Moreton said.

Many other cities are switching their entire systems over to theLED signals, Moreton said.

“You’ve seen these before, but not in Brookhaven,” he said.”Instead of one bulb in there, it has what amounts to like 120little Christmas lights in there.”

The stoplights cost the city about $6,500 per intersection toinstall. Money to fund the project came out of the general budget,Moreton said, but it was a good investment in his opinion.

“They put the money in there, and we spent it,” he said. “Thesewill be a good addition to the downtown, though, and it will helpus on maintenance and electrical savings.”