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Weather can hamper new traffic lights

Weather can hamper new traffic lights



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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- New traffic lights that use less energy may also be less visible when the snow starts blowing.

Drivers have told police they have a harder time seeing the lights when snow builds up on them.

"I think the problem with these new LED lights is they don't melt the snow," Harrisville Police Chief Max Jackson said.

The light-emitting diode lights are much more efficient and less expansive than the incandescent variety. But because they're so efficient, they also generate less heat and sometimes the snow can accumulate if it is blowing horizontally.

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Adan Carrillo said the LED lights last longer, use 60 percent less energy and slowly dim after five years instead of going out suddenly. The cost to power one intersection for a year was about $120 for the old incandescent lights. The new LEDs cost about $20-to-$50.

"In a safety perspective, they're actually a lot better because we know when to change them," Carrillo said.

Carrillo said he didn't know about snow covering the lights. He said hoods on the lamps are designed to keep the snow from the lights, which are also angled toward the ground. He said if conditions are bad enough for the snow to be building up on the street lights, drivers need to slow down and pay more attention.

"It's really hard for us to be there at every intersection," Carrillo said. "People need to be careful and see exactly what the conditions are."

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Information from: Standard-Examiner

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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