September 20, 2004  -  

HURST – Heavily traveled intersections near North East Mall could soon receive LED illuminated street signs to help motorists find nearby restaurants and retail stores more easily.

If the $60,000 proposal is approved, Hurst would join a growing number of cities in the Metroplex using lighted street signs, including North Richland Hills, Addison and Plano.

Carmanah LED Illuminated Street Sign
Larry Martin, Hurst operations engineer of public works, shows an illuminated street sign like the type that is proposed for intersections around North East Mall as part of a $60,000 project under consideration.

Ten intersections near the mall would receive the lighted signs. The project still needs approval from the City Council, City Manager Allan Weegar said.

“We plan to approach the mall about funding a portion of the project,” he said.

Illuminated street signs are becoming more common because they’re attractive and much easier for motorists to read at night, said Addison street superintendent Robin Jones. All 34 of Addison’s signalized intersections have lighted signs, he said.

“You’ll see a lot more cities with them in the future as more cities are able to afford them,” he said. “Visitors and residents just love them.”

The signs are energy-efficient and can help save on maintenance costs, Jones said.

“We’ve had some of our signs up for two years, and they haven’t required any maintenance,” he said. “I don’t know a down side to having them.”

Addison’s signs use fluorescent lights and are manufactured in Garland. Hurst is considering buying signs from Carmanah, a company in Victoria, British Columbia, that uses light-emitting diodes, or LEDs – lamps with a tiny silicon chip that generates light when hit with electrical current.

“LED lights are relatively new and are a more low-cost light than fluorescent,” Jones said. “I’m sure it’s less expensive to operate.”

Addison spent $1,000 per sign. Hurst is considering spending $1,800 to $2,100 per sign – much more than regular street signs, which cost $100 each and require replacement every eight years, said Larry Martin, Hurst operations engineer of public works.

The $60,000 project also includes installation of the signs and painting of the poles, he said.

Carmanah officials say the LED signs are not affected by drastic temperature changes and can operate without any maintenance, including replacing the bulb, for more than 10 years.

The lifespan of fluorescent and incandescent lights is typically 10 years or less, they said.

North Richland Hills has LED-illuminated street signs at the intersections of North Tarrant Parkway and Davis Boulevard, and Precinct Line Road and North Tarrant Parkway. City officials are planning to add more throughout the city.

“We’re in the process of doing seven more intersections,” said Jimmy Cates, North Richland Hills’ operations manager of public works. “It’s all part of the city’s image program.”

The 10 Hurst intersections that were chosen to receive the first illuminated signs are among the city’s most heavily traveled, Martin said. The signs will vary in size and cost depending on street names, he said.

“What we’re trying to do is light street names where there’s the most activity around the mall,” Martin said.

Some Hurst residents said the proposal is another indication that city officials favor beautification projects in affluent areas at the expense of poorer neighborhoods.

“Anything the north side of the city needs, bingo, they’re going to do it,” said Oak Park Estates resident Lindy Linduff, one of several residents who unsuccessfully lobbied the City Council this week to install a footbridge for schoolchildren in their south Hurst neighborhood. “It’s a sad day for our kids in Hurst.”

The council heard a proposal for the lighted signs Tuesday, the same day it rejected spending about $98,500 to install the footbridge.


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