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Highways Virginia Expressway
 
New Mongoose® luminaires exceed
expectations on Richmond Expressway


The Richmond Expressway in Richmond, Virginia takes drivers when they want to go—from the heart of the historical city to the outlying suburbs and commercial districts. The six-mile stretch of multi-lane highway is heavily traveled—particularly during the daily rush hours—with most vehicles traveling the posted 55-mph speed limit.

Good lighting is important for this stretch of highway not only because of the volume of traffic, but because workers at the toll plazas must have sufficient illumination to read license plate numbers and the lettering on the sides of vehicles. Previously, the Expressway was lighted with cobra-head type fixtures installed next to the roadway. Over the years, many of the pole arms and much of the mounting hardware had become cracked or otherwise damaged, creating safety concerns. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) had also advised against using cobra-head units because they require a lane closure for maintenance.

Officials at the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, which owns the Richmond Expressway, decided to remove the arms and fixtures and replace the cobra-head system with Mongoose® Architectural Luminaires from Holophane. When the project was launched, the VDOT was using the Mongoose family of fixtures in the roadway lighting design for a number of projects. Although the Richmond Metropolitan Authority owns the Expressway, a long-standing agreement with the VDOT stipulates that all materials installed on the Expressway are designed to VDOT parameters.

Mongoose luminaires with 150-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps and semi-cutoff optics were installed along the ramps and fixtures with 250-watt HPS lamps and semi-cutoff optics were installed along the mainline. Fixtures at the toll plazas utilize 400-watt metal halide lamps and have cutoff optics.
The Mongoose luminaires were mounted on existing poles with new hardware installed. The poles, which are 40 feet tall, are spaced 190 feet on average.

“Because the decision was made to replace only the arms and fixtures, we were locked into the pole placements and heights,” said Antonio Altamar, lighting design section manager, HNTB Corporation, Alexandria, Virginia.

In January, while the installation process was still in progress, Altamar conducted a field survey to evaluate the performance of the 100 luminaires that were in place at that time. The purpose of the evaluation was to make any necessary corrections or modifications to the system before the project progressed any further.

Altamar and others conducting the survey drove the entire length of roadway where the fixtures were installed to inspect the units visually and take actual illumination level readings along the mainline, on ramps and at the two toll plazas. According to Altamar, actual illumination levels exceeded the minimum .2 footcandles recommended by AASHTO for interstate highways.

“Because this is the first actual roadway application for the Mongoose luminaires anywhere, we considered this a trail blazing project of sorts,” said Altamar. “Based on our visual examination, it was readily apparent that the fixtures produce the photometrics that we expected based on the computer modeling. We were impressed by the fact that at a tilt angle of 0 degrees, the fixtures at every location—whether they were installed with 150-, 250-, or 400-watt lamps—illuminated the entire roadway length with almost no glare.”

The entire project is expected to be completed by April 1, 2001, with a total of 450 to 460 luminaires installed. The fixtures will be maintained by the VDOT.

“Maintenance crews should be able to service the fixtures from a bucket truck on the shoulder of the roadway without the expense and inconvenience of lane closures,” said Altamar. The Mongoose luminaires are controlled by photocells installed at the service panels.



 

 
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