November 19, 2018
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Photo: Illinois DOT.

The Illinois Department of Transportation issued a formal request for information on Aug. 22 to private sector firms interested in partnering with the state to replace its aging highway lighting infrastructure with energy-efficient equipment that includes “smart technology.

The Illinois DOT said that its proposed public-private partnership or P3 is also in line with a push by Gov. Bruce Rauner for state agencies to “embrace innovative solutions that save taxpayers money” through privatization.

“The lighting equipment on our highways is old, inadequate and in serious need of an upgrade,” said Illinois Transportation Randy Blankenhorn in a statement. “Working with the private sector, we can learn about best practices and cost-effective ways to provide the public with better service, while also paving the way for the next generation of transportation.”

He added that the department’s P3 plan seeks ideas on how private firms and other interested parties can invest and partner with IDOT on modernizing and maintaining more than 30,000 light poles, some of which are more than 40 years old.

The Michigan DOT entered into a similar P3 three years ago, which is considered to be “the first” P3 dedicated to freeway lighting replacement.  That plan aimed to replace 87 percent of Michigan’s 15,000 freeway lights in the metro area with LEDs.

Meanwhile, the Illinois DOT’s RFI asks for proposals – due by Sept. 21 – to include details on converting to more efficient light emitting diode or LED lighting and adding infrastructure that will improve network connectivity in Illinois – infrastructure that potentially accommodates connected and autonomous vehicles or CAVs as well.

Information is also being sought on expanding data collection to assist with traffic monitoring and incident management, the agency noted.

editor@aashto.org

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