MoDOT sheds energy-efficient light on Missouri River Bridge

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - When the sun goes down in Jefferson City, the eastbound Missouri River Bridge might shine a bit brighter.

Missouri Department of Transportation crews on Monday replaced the lighting along the bridge with longer-lasting LED fixtures.

LED lights are one of the most efficient lighting options available.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the widespread use of LED light sources could significantly brighten the nation's energy efficiency outlook. 

By 2027, the widespread adoption, both industrial and residential, of LED lights is expected to save electricity equivalent to the output of 44 one-thousand megawatt power plants. Cost savings would equal about $30 billion, based on today's energy prices.

Chris Carl, a Jefferson City resident who lives near the Missouri River bridges, said he thinks MoDOT should be investing more in bridge infrastructure repair and maintenance - things that have more direct public safety implications than lighting.  

But Trent Brooks, MoDOT Central District traffic engineer, said the lights will save the state money as a result of their higher efficiency.

"We anticipate that the lights will pay for themselves in about 4 years," Brooks said. 

He estimated the monthly cost savings of each fixture would be about $10.

He said the LED fixtures are more durable and are expected to last longer than the replaced lights, meaning MoDOT likely will not have to replace lights as frequently, closing lanes and disrupting traffic flow across the bridges.

By producing increased labor and energy savings, the LED lights are one way for MoDOT to save and invest in other infrastructure projects, Brooks said.

MoDOT updated the lighting on the westbound Missouri River Bridge at Jefferson City last year when the bridge was closed for repainting.