ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — The lighting along Maryland’s roadways could soon get a bit dimmer.  The State Highway Administration says it’s all about saving money.

Kai Jackson explains the plan and why some drivers are worried this could be dangerous.

Overhead lights on a highway illuminate the path on which people are heading, but you can imagine that electricity being used, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, adds up.

“Well, I think all of these states will have to think outside the box in terms of ways to save money,” said Mark Glaze from Ellicott City.

Maryland may be one of the richest states in the country, but it’s not immune to the economic shakeup happening and opportunities to put dollars back in the bank are often seized. So on a six-mile stretch of Route 100 in Ellicott City, the State Highway Administration has cut back on overhead lighting.

“So by reducing the lights, we can reduce the cost of the energy, save money and also be greener,” said Valerie Burnette Edgar, SHA.

Some Marylanders are concerned that cutting back on lighting translates into a reduction in safety.

“You need as much light as possible to be able to drive in the evening,” said Glaze.

“Now headlights are much brighter and you don’t need as much overhead lighting,” Burnette Edgar said.

The State Highway Administration says if Route 100 were constructed today, there would be fewer lights than the number installed now.

Comments (24)
  1. deadernie says:

    my car has headlights. I can see just fine without all the energy wasting lights illuminating the highway. How much money could be saved if they did this state wide?

  2. Bierra says:

    Why not covert the overhead lights on the highway to solar?

    1. Janet says:

      Good idea! The sun is free, so why not use it instead of generating power that all residents of MD have to pay.

      1. T says:

        Perfect solution!

    2. The Hammer says:

      Exactly my thoughts! Everyone would get around an idea of up front spending if it meant a long term solution/reduction of cost. Now knock me over and tell me that you are switching to LED lamps that need replacing 2/3 less frequently. C’mon Maryland! We can do better.

  3. HHUN says:

    This is ridiculous. This stretch of road is very dark without lights and is loaded with deer and other hazards. My husband will soon be traveling this area as his employer is moving to Elkridge off of Rt. 100. Why haven’t they gotten with the times and installed solar panels on the lights over the years?

  4. jim says:

    works for me They could even stop plowing snow on the side streets and let the people that live on them have to clear them off if they want to get out or pay someone.

  5. BC says:

    Go for it, take out the majority of the lights, maybe then most of those stupid Maryland drivers will realize they’re driving on the highways without their headlights on.

  6. sierrater says:


  7. earl says:

    to jim your a complete idoit and to bc stupid maryland drivers what state are you from fool i cant stand people and there stupid ass comments

  8. j says:

    Rutting season’s over, not as much of an issue.
    Wait until deer are in heat again, after a few mangled deer and automobiles, the SHA might reconsider…
    Along stretches of I-95, there is soooo much road liter (shredded truck tires, etc) that additional lighting is really needed.

  9. nick says:

    solar light do not have enough energy stored for all night for these lights to be effective enough, not enough amps. they have to cut back on something or raise our taxes more, so learn to sacrifice now,,, the silver spoon is melting away.

    1. ej says:

      They could convert the lights to LEDs which consume up to 90% less energy and can run off the solar energy stored during the day. Yes, it will cost a lot of money to replace the lights, but over a couple months, it would pay for itself.

  10. Dale says:

    street lights off? good AND STOP ALL NIGHT SPORTING EVENTS

  11. Eric says:

    I have no problems with this as long as they keep key lights lit for safety. They could also try turning cutting them off after a certain hour. Maybe people will slow up and be more careful. I’ve driven the Pa. turnpike at night and they don’t have lights every five feet.
    It’s not all that bad you just have to slow down.

  12. TOM says:

    How about l.e.d. solar requiers batteries.

  13. Lighting Maintenance Inc says:

    There is a simple solution to this problem. HID Dimming technology! The waste is not having lights burn along the highways, the waste in burning them at full brightness all night long. We have the dimming and communication technology to allow the State to set any schedule desired and then override it in specific areas or the entire state. This is how problems are solved in the 21st century. Contact Lighting Maintenance Inc for more information.

    1. T says:

      Well Lighting Maintenance Inc. sounds like you need to make a contract bid to SHA!

  14. Ken says:

    Changing them to LED and dimming them are great ideas but that costs a significant amount of money to implement. They need to save money now, not spend money to upgrade the lighting. At some point it might be a good idea to do that but it will take time for the cost of upgrading the lighting technology to recovered in savings so very unlikely they will do that at this point. They are doing the only thing they can do which is turn them off.

    If people would drive at reasonable speeds and reduce their speed in darker conditions they will have more time to react to any road hazards. You will also save a significant amount of fuel by slowing your speed from 70 to 60 mph.

  15. Corrie Everhart says:

    My two cents worth;

    I understand that better lighting is helpful but at what cost to public safety is it worth to reduce? There are always pro’s and con’s to every choice made.

    Personally I agree with reducing the lighting because headlights are brighter now than before but in turn drivers need to slow down; I know everyone hates to slow down because people like speed and rushing around but in the end we’re all going to die so what’s your hurry?

    The bigger problem with reducing the lighting is that the money saved will not go to repair our terrible Maryland roads, instead it will most likely be used for something that could wait or that we could do without all together.

    The real answer at this time however is reducing overall spending so our deficit won’t be so overwhelming, the money saved should be just that “Money Saved” and not spent even for the much needed roadway repairs until our budget will allow.

    So in the meantime make cuts where you can and ask the residents to be smarter and do things to help; I would say ask them to use common sense but few seem to have a grasp of what common sense even means these days. So make the suggestions for those who do not know.

    The old saying a penny saved is a penny earned really does mean something if you stop and think about it.

  16. Greg says:

    I travel to many states and can say with confidence. Md roads ( not Baltimore city ) are in far better condition then any other state that boarders us. Stop complaining. Also, I feel it is great idea to reduce the number or lights along our highways. Especially those that operate on a BG&E power line.

  17. Tabbykat says:

    I just want to say that I think its a horrible idea.We have all those 18 wheelers and other truck drivers out on the roads already swerving .All we need is less lights for them to keep nodding off at the wheel.If there is another solution to keep them on,I’m all for it,but something needs to be done about this.

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