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New Overhead Lights Going in on Wichita Falls Highways

If you've traveled past the Highway 281-287 interchange, you've probably noticed a change taking place in that area.  TxDOT is funding a project to replace several of the lights that illuminate the highways.
    The lights, they are a changin'.
    That is, the lights at the Highway 287-281 interchange in Wichita Falls are being replaced by 150 foot tall high mast arms with a ringed halo system.
    Adele Lewis, who's with TxDOT public information, says, "The old ones were put in back in 1970, so we're looking at 42-year-old lighting systems out there." 04:52:39
    The more than 40-year-old system sustained normal wear and tear over that time.
    "The problem with that is they become functionally obsolete and they start to break down on us," Lewis says.
    Beyond that, the old lights pose a safety risk for the City of Wichita Falls crews who change out the burned out bulbs.
    "It's a big, round halo at the top of the light pole.  When they go to bring it down, it's on a pulley system, and when they pull it down on the cables, sometimes those cables don't wrap correctly and it can start to fall," Lewis says.
    The nine new light systems were funded by TxDOT's rehabilitation funding budget, which is money used all over the area to upgrade and update different items.
    The changing of the lights is a $700-thousand project.
    "The new system that we're putting in will draw a lot less energy and be more efficient," Lewis says.
    TxDOT and the City of Wichita Falls are in an inter-agency agreement for the project, so TxDOT will pay for the first lights to go in, including the installation of the poles.
    The city will maintain the lights.
    The nine new light poles should be up and running by the end of the month.
    Engineers will be crossing last minute items off their check lists through mid-November.
    TxDOT officials say once the new lights are up, they hope to replace other overhead lights in that area as well.
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