Work is underway on a statewide project to convert all of WYDOT’s roadway lighting to LED, an upgrade expected to save the department about $690,000 a year in energy costs.

According to a news release, the upgrades being completed by Casper’s Modern Electric Co. are beginning in the Casper area, and will spread across the rest of the state over the course of the coming year, ending with the retrofitting of the lighting in the Green River Tunnels on I-80 sometime next summer.

The project will upgrade 5,267 light fixtures, including high mast tower lighting at interchanges and rest areas, roadside and area lighting, parking area fixtures and lighting at road closure gates.

Total cost for the project, which also includes energy efficiency upgrades to WYDOT buildings, is $10.7 million. It is being funded by a 15-year bond to be paid off with the money saved on utility bills.

The bonding is made possible through the Wyoming Energy Conservation Improvement Program managed by the Wyoming Business Council. The project is the second phase of WYDOT’s Statewide Energy Savings Program that began in 2012. The department expects the savings on utility costs over the life of the upgrades completed during both phases to reach $16.5 million.

Work is expected to continue into November on lighting in central Wyoming, and then move to the western portion of the state. Upgrades are scheduled to begin in the northeast in January and in the southeast in March.