The traffic lights you see along Highway 90 in Biloxi will soon have a new look. The city is about to replace or upgrade all the signal bulbs with LED lamps. The new lights are supposed to be brighter, better looking and save the city about $5,000 a month in power bills.
Kim Cochran with Southern Company Energy Solutions says "There's a lot of energy savings associated with it, because the wattages are so much less on the lamps that we put in. There's a lot of maintenance savings too, because the life of the lamps are longer".
Changing the lights was part of the recommendations in a citywide traffic study that began last Fall. Mayor A.J. Holloway says "The traffic situation that we have in the city of Biloxi has just been tremendous in the last few years, and some of these traffic signals have been up there for years. Now, you have new technology coming on and we want to keep up with the technology that's out there to make traffic move".
To make traffic move more efficiently, the engineer of the study suggests removing six signals where there are low traffic counts. The intersections affected are Highway 90, Division Street and Howard Avenue. He also says the city needs to fix or replace devices that don't work and synchronize outdated signals.
Brian Fulton says "The biggest thing that we found in the study was that most of the intersections were not running in a coordination-type pattern. A lot of the signal timings were outdated and needed to be updated to current traffic trends to be efficient".
Another major recommendation is to improve all signals and intersections along Pass Road. Mayor Holloway says "Pass Road will be treated separately, because it's going to be a specialized deal. Everything will be synchronized from one end of Pass Road to the other. It'll have new controls, new lights and everything".
Once work on installing the LED lights begins, it should take about five months to complete. As for Pass Road, the project is expected to cost $2.7 million. The federal government will pay 80%. The city must pitch in 20%, which is about $550,000. The Mayor is asking the city council to fund the project in next year's budget.