By Dustin Krugel
ADOT Office of Public Information
In an ongoing effort to modernize the state’s highway system, the Arizona Department of Transportation recently secured a $1 million federal grant to replace the antiquated lighting in the US 60 Queen Creek Tunnel near Superior with a new light-emitting diode (LED) lighting system, which will be the first tunnel in Arizona to have this new innovative technology.
The new lighting system will improve visibility in the tunnel, which was originally built in 1952, by using an adaptive control system that will adjust the lighting level within the tunnel based upon ambient light and weather conditions outside the tunnel.
The new lighting system will also significantly reduce the power consumption, while decreasing maintenance frequency for the tunnel (lane closures, traffic delays). The tunnel first opened to traffic in 1953.
“This project is one of several in store for the US 60 corridor that will ultimately enhance safety between Globe and the Phoenix metro area, including the Silver King/Superior Streets widening project west of the Queen Creek Tunnel and the Oak Flats climbing lane project east of the tunnel,” said ADOT Globe District Engineer Jesse Gutierrez. “The new lighting system will provide sufficient visibility in the tunnel for safety while using the least amount of energy.”
The funding comes from the Federal Highway Administration Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration program, which will ultimately invest $30 million in incentive funding for federal, state, local and tribal government agencies to hasten their use of innovative methods. The AID program builds on the success of the agency’s ongoing Every Day Counts initiative, a partnership between the Federal Highway Administration and state and local transportation agencies to accelerate the deployment of innovative methods and cut project delivery times.
ADOT expects to replace the lighting system beginning in 2015, which will require new conduit and wiring in the quarter-mile-long tunnel. The total project cost is estimated to be $3.8 million.
ADOT was one of only six states to receive one of the grants designed to accelerate deployment of innovative transportation projects, and the $1 million grant to Arizona matched Michigan’s for the largest received.