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LED traffic signals coming to Grayslake

Updated: February 19, 2013 3:10PM

GRAYSLAKE — Mayor Rhett Taylor is ready to execute an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation to upgrade traditional traffic signals at eight major intersections in town with new LED modules.

Taylor identified the major intersections as: Route 83 at Shorewood Road; Route 83 at Lake Street; Route 83 at Washington Street; Route 83 at Frederick Road; Route 83 at Library Lane; Route 83 at Center Street; Route 120 at Route 45; and Route 120 at Alleghany Road.

The mayor said state funds will provide 90 percent of the upgrade costs with the remaining 10 percent split based on intersection leg jurisdictions. Taylor said Grayslake’s cost is expected to be $4,500.

Conversion of incandescent traffic signals throughout the state to bright and energy-efficient LEDs is proving popular Taylor said.

“They burn brighter, last longer and save village funds by using 90 percent less energy than incandescent traffic signal bulbs,” he indicated.

But some critics say LEDs that emit less heat sometimes lack the ability to melt wet snow that may stick and block a traffic light, causing an intersection accident.

Fortunately, with a mild Midwest winter underway so far this year the problem has been minimal. However, should this occur, maintenance road crews would be required to brush the snow off the signals, causing extra work.

LED light manufacturers are aware of the problem and have been experimenting with various remedies such as adding traffic signal heating elements to melt snow. However, municipalities complain that will diminish the energy savings they gained by using LED lighting.

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