Solar pavement lights hit Kansas roads

WICHITA, Kansas - New technology could cut down on accidents on the roads in rural areas.

Kansas is the first state to use the self-sufficient solar powered LED pavement lights to illuminate rural interchanges and intersections.

K-DOT installed lights in October in both Neosho and Allen County at two U.S. 169 road interchanges.

Project Manager Chris Pross says it helps drivers see where they’re going.

“We originally looked at them to replace tower lights, but as time went on, we quickly realized they won’t be able to replace them,” said Pross.  “But they will work very, very well in situations where the rural interchanges don’t have enough traffic volume.”

The solar lights, so far, have shown they can survive extreme weather conditions.

Crews installed 600 lights along the road ways and only two have failed to work due to the harsh winter.

K-DOT reports they’ve gotten good feedback from those driving in foggy conditions, compared to standard overhead lights. The new system also has the potential of preventing accidents.

“We for-see that these are going to be extremely beneficial for people that maybe have those issue where there’s no pavement markings to show you where to turn but these can provide that guidance,” said Pross.

The first 600 lights cost about $70,000.

K-DOT is doing research to see if it makes sense financially to expand the system.

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