LED Lighting for Highways, Bridges and Tunnels

LED lights have the potential to solve a long term problem, public safety on bridges, highways and in tunnels.  Adequately lighting these areas has been a challenge. Federal, State and Local Governments are responsible for the safety of the public and at the same time are chartered with reducing energy costs.

How LED Lighting can solve the problems

Superior Energy Savings

LED lights have a superior advantage in energy efficiency. A typical cobra head street light uses 250 watts where the average LED cobra head average between 50 to 160 watts a savings of 46% to 80% savings.


The picture above is from The US Department of Energy and it is of The Richmond – San Raphael Bridge in San Francisco partly complete install of LED lights. You will notice how much better the white LED lights perform compared to the yellow high pressure sodium.

The bridge above was part a project The State of California commissioned. The State purchased and upgraded 40,000 street lights to LED roadway luminaires and installed 5,600 LED luminaires for their maintenance stations. The project saved 9.2 Mega Watts, 38,000MWHrs and 3.4 Million Dollars!

Superior Quality of Light

LED lights provide a higher quality of compared to high pressure sodium lights. The white light LED’s produce mimic daylight. This light increases your visual acuity and color perception. The US Department of Energy released a study citing the importance of properly lit road ways. Both pedestrian and motor vehicle deaths were highest during night hours and more occurred during the winter months when darkness was more prevalent.


The above picture is a before (high pressure sodium) and after (LED) of a roadway in Chattanooga. Notice how much better the LED lights perform. LED’s quality of light, higher color rendering and correlated color temperature greatly improve your vision. It’s now possible to see the color of the grass, the speed limit sign and the trajectory of the road.

Decreased maintenance 

Although the energy savings is pretty dramatic another area where LED lights can make a large impact is in reduced maintenance costs. Since LED lights are solid state devices and contain no bulbs or ballast, maintenance is greatly reduced. The average useful life time of an LED is 100,000 hours and it is unlikely that a driver or chip would need to be replacing during that time. Another area LED lights perform better in tunnels and roadways, is they can handle vibrations better than traditional filament bulbs which tend to break during high vibrations created by automobiles, trains, trucks and the wind.