ARNOLD, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation has begun a massive light improvement project along roads in Jefferson County.
The department will pay Reinhold Electric of St. Louis $527,314 to repair and replace lights including Interstate 55, Route 141, Route 30 and Route 21 between Jefferson and Franklin counties.
A spokesperson for the department said the project is part of an overall update to the state highway lighting system converting from high-pressure sodium to light-emitting diodes, more commonly known as LED lights.
“A primary purpose of lighting a roadway at night is to increase the visibility of the roadway and its immediate environment, thereby permitting the driver to maneuver more efficiently and safely,” they said.
One of the biggest parts of this project is work alongside the bridge over the Meramec River that connects Jefferson and St. Louis counties.
The plan includes erecting 45-foot light poles, putting up pole bases,
and straightening poles.
Eugene Barro, a tattoo artist near the bridge on the Arnold side, said his ride to and from his shop relies on light.
“It gets kind of dark after you cross the bridge going the other direction towards the 55, then it starts to get a little dark but right through here it's fairly well lit,” he said.
Barro added that brightness was also big for business and safety.
“Extremely important to have visibility. Especially for your signs. As you see, our shop sits kind of down so we have lots of lights,” he said
These lights are also a source of safety since various modes of travel, such as vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians, cross paths at these locations.
"Nighttime crash rates are typically higher than daytime rates, therefore, lighting can be applied continuously along segments and at spot locations such as interchanges, intersections, or pedestrian crossings in order to increase visibility," the spokesperson for MoDOT added.
"I wouldn't want to be walking around out there late at night especially if I was a female or an older person. I wouldn't be walking around out there. It gets really dark.” Barro said.
The department stated the configuration, spacing and type of luminaires for continuous lighting would depend on many factors, including the type of roadway, the adjacent roadway features, the roadway width and the setback of the luminaires from the edge of the travel way.
The contract covers 650 fixtures total and accounts for traffic control and other repairs as well.
Work began at the beginning of June and is expected to be finished by December 2024.