PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Drivers, rejoice! Lights along I-295 will slowly be illuminating the highway all night long. Right now, the light fixtures are from 1972 and only stay on until 11PM, in order to save money and be energy-efficient.
The new LED lights are more energy-efficient: They have a warranty of 10 years and are expected to last for at least 20 years, with limited maintenance required. Ted Talbot of the Department of Transportation says the cost of the new lights will be paid off in 2.4 years.
State Traffic Engineer, Bruce Ibarguen, says having the interstate lit all night will make it safer for drivers. He says there haven't been major concerns of accidents in the past without the lights, but more light is always better for safety.
Ibarguen says the department had actually received complaints about the lights being ON at night in the past. Star-gazers and environmentalists were concerned they couldn't see the night sky when the highway lights were on. These new lights direct all the light directly to the road, making it possible for drivers to see both the stars and the highway.
Crews will be replacing the fixtures for the next 20 weeks ago, as they work their way north on 295. Wednesday, they were on Forest Avenue in Portland, replacing the fixture at the 295 southbound exit ramp into Portland.