In-street lighting has been added at five crosswalks in downtown Gallatin, which officials say will help improve pedestrian safety in the area.
The LED lights, which are along both sides the crosswalks and flash yellow when activated by a pedestrian, were installed by the city’s public works department last month.
“When you’re talking about pedestrian safety in an area that is as compact as the square is, it’s important to do everything that we can to protect pedestrians and drivers,” Mayor Paige Brown said about the project. “I also just think it is a nice compliment to the beautiful square that we’ve created.”
The crosswalks are located on East Main Street near the Gallatin Public Library, on North Water Avenue near Swaney Swift’s and on West Main Street near city hall.
The total cost of the project, which was approved by the Gallatin City Council earlier this year, is expected to be between $125,000 and $130,000, according to Richard DePriest, superintendent of Gallatin Public Works.
The new lighting replaces physical signs that were first placed in the middle of the road in 2014 to warn drivers of potential pedestrian traffic.
Officials with the city’s public works department estimate that at least $10,000 was spent on the installation, replacement and repair of the signs, which were often hit by passing vehicles. Crews also spent an average of five hours each week performing the maintenance and repair work at the different locations.
“Over the long run the cost is well justified,” Brown said about the price of adding in-street lighting at the five crosswalks. “It’s going to look better and certainly I think it’s going to protect people better, which is the whole point.”
Of the three potential projects considered by city leaders earlier this year aimed at increasing pedestrian safety downtown, in-street lighting was the most expensive, according to cost estimates provide by the city’s public works department.
Other options included the addition of rectangular flashing beacons on each side of the crosswalks for an estimated $84,000 or adding lights around existing crosswalk signs already in place for an estimated $34,000.
According to DePriest, the in-street LED lighting comes with a five-year warranty and is expected to have a lifespan between 15 and 20 years.