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Philly’s LED Traffic Lights Unusable in the Snow

The greens will kill us all.

The City of Philadelphia has been replacing those high-wattage incandescent bulbs in traffic signals on thousands of street corners with energy-saving LEDs in red, yellow, and green, saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in electricity charges.

But the LED lights operate much cooler than the old bulbs, creating a danger when they become encrusted with snow.
City Councilman Frank Rizzo says Wednesday night’s big snowstorm left many traffic signals in the city snow covered — and the snow didn’t melt, he says, because the city is switching to the LED signals.

Rizzo says that Thursday morning, driving on Broad Street, he saw drivers unable to tell if the lights at intersections were red or green because the snow on them hadn’t melted. And he thinks that’s because the city installed LED lights in place of incandescent bulbs.

“I saw that occurring, where the snow covered over the red, yellow, and green lights. And it made it very dangerous for people,” he told KYW Newsradio.

The city is saving a million bucks a year on the lower power lights.

I’m pretty sure they’re just replacing the bulbs, not the whole unit. But I can’t imagine that some manufacturer doesn’t make a temperature activated heat traced traffic light that melts the snow/ice when the temperature drops below a certain level. It’s simple.

January 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm
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