Local 12 Investigates: ODOT: New sensors in Lytle Tunnel will cut down on glare
When Local 12 Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman asked Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Press Secretary Matt Bruning whether our calls to discuss concerns about new L.E.D. lighting in the Lytle Tunnel helped ODOT, Bruning was quick with his answer, "It certainly brought some concerns to us that we took a second look at. Absolutely,” Bruning said.
“GLOWING DANGER” INVESTIGATION
In October, our Local 12 Investigation, “Glowing Danger”exposed serious concerns raised in a report from the American Medical Association (AMA) about dangerous glare from the new L.E.D. streetlight being installed around the Tri-State and across the country.
According to the AMA report, the L.E.D. street lights can cause “disability glare,” and “impairment” that sometimes caused “a veil of illuminance,” that “leads to worse vision than if the light never existed at all.”
Nowhere is that glare more apparent than the Lytle Tunnel, where the new L.E.D. lights are being installed on the walls. Local 12 cameras, attached to our vehicles, repeatedly captured the glare, while driving through the tunnel.
In an interview with the president of the AMA, Dr. Andrew Gurman from Pennsylvania, Dr. Gurman explained the lighting issue as potentially hazardous. When Pohlman asked about the configuration and glare from the new lights in the Lytle Tunnel, Dr. Gurman replied, “Well, the way you describe it certainly concerns me.”
That information was enough for ODOT to check what needed to be done to stop unnecessary glare.
According to ODOT, the new L.E.D. light fixtures in the tunnel meet state and federal regulation and, since they’ve already been purchased at a hefty price tag of $2 million, they will not be scrapped.
Instead, Bruning says ODOT will adjust them.
"The intensity of the lights, we're going to play with," Bruning said, adding that a sensor that was planned to be installed will be key to adjusting that intensity to match the brightness, whether day or night.
"Once we finally get everything installed properly, there will actually be a sensor on the outside of the tunnel that will match the lighting in the tunnel to what you see outside the tunnel,” Bruning explained, adding, “The idea is we don't want your eyes to have to adjust "
With the sensor, the L.E.D. lights will be bright during sunny days, but will dim to match the darker skies, day or night.
While our investigation raised a key question, the answer seemed to be ready in the original design: A sensor that will cut down on the glare.
Anytime a person like you can give us a call, or the general public gives us a call, and raises a question, you know, let's take a look at. We'll do that,” Bruning said, adding that our call did help ODOT, “It did, Absolutely!"