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CDOT Tests Experimental LED Lighting On I-70

flickr- used with permission
The in-pavement LED lighting is being tested on the eastbound lanes of I-70 near the Twin Tunnels. New LED lights have also been installed inside the tunnels.

The next time you’re driving along I-70 in the mountains, you may think you’re landing on a runway. That’s because the Colorado Department of Transportation is testing new in-pavement LED lighting.

The lighting has been installed on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 near Hidden Valley and the Twin Tunnels. It’s the first place in Colorado where the lights are being used.

According to CDOT’s Tracy Trulove, the lighting was included in the tunnel’s widening project and the LEDs can also be found inside the tunnel.

“So when that [Twin Tunnel] project came about, it was looked at as an alternative and greener source to light the roadway,” Trulove said.

The lights mimic the painted highway striping, and that creates what one person on reddit called a “runway” effect.

The agency said if the project proves successful, the lighting could be installed in more places across the state.

Credit ODT /
Experimental in-road LED lighting, like these used in Oregon, are relatively new in highway safety.

Truelove said the lights provide better road visibility, are waterproof, and are less costly to maintain then other sources.

There are higher initial costs to install the lighting, but Truelove said that’s offset by lower maintenance and operational costs.

“The beauty of the LED is that it has a 10 year lifespan and we ask for a 10 year warranty on our LED lighting,” she said.

The practice of installing in-pavement LED's across the U.S. is relatively new. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s website, “these treatments show promise for improving safety but comprehensive effectiveness evaluations are not yet available.”

The LED test lighting on I-70 will be evaluated by CDOT based on durability, traffic impacts and maintenance issues. Besides the in-pavement lighting, the agency installed LED’s along the entire Twin Tunnel project where lighting was replaced.

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