New Traffic Lights Make Tyler More Efficient - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/18/04 - Tyler

New Traffic Lights Make Tyler More Efficient

Starting Monday, motorists in Tyler will see changes in the traffic signals. The city will begin installing state-of-the-art traffic lights designed to improve visibility and save money. It's part of a larger, multi-million dollar project to make the city more energy efficient.

Kirk Houser knows a little something about traffic lights. He's a traffic engineer for the city of Tyler, and he explained to us the changes the city plans to make.

"Almost all of our traffic signals use a standard incandescent bulb that's sort of a heavy duty light bulb similar to what everyone has in their household," said Houser. "It's a 135 watt bulb. Well, every traffic signal uses quite a number of these and they're burning all of the time, so it's using quite a bit of power."

As a result, the city is set to switch to more efficient, LED bulbs. Here's how it works. The light will now actually be a cluster of small LED bulbs, which will burn brighter, but cost the city less.

"Each individual light unit will use aproximately 90% less power than it uses right now," said Houser. "It could save aproximately $100,000 a year off of our total electric bill."

Tyler Water Utilities Director Greg Morgan points out, *that electric bill is paid for by taxpayer dollars. However, he says this project is being paid for with existing construction funds already in the Water Utilities Department.

"This is going to help maintain the low tax structure that we currently see in the city of Tyler," said Morgan.

The money saved each year will be used to pay back what essentially is a "loan" from the water utilities department. The upgrade also brings Tyler in compliance with Senate Bill 5, which requires the city to reduce it's electricity output by 25% over five years. 120 intersections are scheduled to be updated, with each intersection taking 2-to-3 hours to complete. The project is scheduled to be completed by July.

Kevin berns reporting

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