Chicago Skyway flips switch on green energy
Skyway Concession Company (SCC), operator of the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge (Skyway), has completed a major modification to lighting on the Skyway, upgrading the entire road and bridge lighting system to use LEDs (light-emitting diodes).
LED lighting is energy efficient, reliable, provides bright, clear light, and eliminates post-consumer waste in landfills and harmful mercury deposits.
Last year, SCC consulted with electricity provider ComEd on “green” alternatives to roadway lighting with the aim of improving visibility, reducing the Skyway’s carbon footprint and reducing costs, according to a release. As a result of the collaboration, SCC committed $400,000 to modernize Skyway’s lighting system, which had not been significantly modified since the bridge was built in 1958.
“We believe everyone will benefit from this conversion,” Skyway CEO Fernando Redondo said. “The new LED lighting system was designed to provide better visibility for a safer, more pleasant driving experience, while providing environmental benefits to the community and long-term cost savings for the company.”
In addition to the LED lighting upgrade, SCC also recently implemented “smart” motion sensors for lighting at SCC’s bridge office to reduce electricity consumption. Future “green” projects currently being evaluated by SCC include installation of chargers for electric vehicles and solar energy initiatives.
Built by the city of Chicago in 1958, the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge is a 7.8-mile-long toll road that connects the Indiana Toll Road to the Dan Ryan Expressway on Chicago's South Side. The main feature of the Skyway is a 1⁄2-mile-long steel truss bridge, known as the "High Bridge." The bridge itself spans the Calumet River and Calumet Harbor, a major harbor for industrial ships – its main span extends 650 feet long and provides for 125 feet of vertical clearance.
The city of Chicago maintained and operated the Chicago Skyway until January 2005 when Skyway Concession Company assumed those responsibilities pursuant to a 99-year lease. The lease agreement between Skyway and the city was the first privatization of an existing toll road in the United States.