By Quan Truong, Chicago Tribune reporter
March 12, 2013
Traffic signals along Roosevelt and Butterfield roads in Wheaton will be upgraded this year as part of statewide efforts to switch to low-energy lights that will save power.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will be paying for the majority of the work, with Wheaton footing 10 percent of the bill.
Bids are expected to go out in April and work should happen over the summer months.
Wheaton council members recently passed a resolution supporting the traffic signal improvements. It'll include work on nine signals along a nearly three-mile stretch on Roosevelt Road, between Hazelton Avenue and Lorraine Road, and four signals along a .7-mile stretch on Butterfield between East Loop Road and Scottdale Circle.
"They're converting the regular incandescent lamps for lights to LED, which is a lower energy use alternative to incandescent lamps and will save on energy costs but also save on replacement of bulbs because they last longer," said Wheaton city engineer Paul Redman. "It is the trend today to go to the LED lights for traffic signals, and it's even starting to move into street light arena as well and general lighting all together. It is the trend because they're lower energy use."
Upgrades also include emergency battery back-up power supply and countdown pedestrian signals,
That means during power outages, Wheaton will have power back-up for several hours. Before, when the lights went out, all intersections with traffic signals reverted to four-way stops, so this will cut down on congestion and help traffic flow during outages, Redman said.
Upgrades are being implemented statewide, according to Mike Claffey, communications manager at IDOT. Contract plans are being prepared for multiple locations over the next few years, as funding allows.
The work per intersection varies, but typically range between $8,000 and $15,000, Claffey said. Under existing traffic signal agreements, most local agencies will be responsible for part of the cost, which would be a 10 percent match to the program.
For Wheaton, the city will be paying $10,700 and the state will be paying $253,000.