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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:30 pm 
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It always disappoints me immensely when new lighting is installed on legacy concrete columns and whilst I appreciate it costs significantly more to install a new column as well as it being more likely to disrupt traffic, it feels like a wasted opportunity to finally be rid of concrete columns which I believe don't have any place on out roads any longer. It especially disappoints me when a concrete column doesn't get replaced and it's one situated on the edge of the pavement as I've read that if one is crashed into, the driver is more likely to die than if they had collided with a steel column.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:57 pm 
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Re: Replace or upgrading concrete lighting columns.

Some interesting points raised here.

Yes, it has to be said that concrete (and cast iron) columns  are pretty unforgiving when it comes to vehicular collisions, although the humble brick garden wall will make an equally big dent in your 'pride and joy' if hit hard enough and there are no campaigns to get rid of those!

Not only that, but with the increasing amount of street clutter such as railings, planters, advertisement signs etc, there are now probably far more obstacles on a typical highway to knock over; some of which are put in to aid pedestrian safety.

That said, even the ubiquitous galvanised tubular steel type (commonly specified to replace concrete columns), can be as equally hard if collided with.

If you search for 'lamp post impact - features' on YouTube, there is an interesting video which was featured in the '5th Gear' TV programme. The host Guy Wadsworth  demonstrates the forces involved, when a typical saloon car is driven into a 12m steel column at 45mph.

Whilst most concrete columns are slowly being replaced, there are times when lighting improvement works will often take the view that the energy saving benefits of a new light source, outweigh the risk of the retained concrete column being collided with.

Whilst it might seem a false economy to re-equip an old column, only for it to be replaced a year or two later, certainly gives an indication of just how stretched some lighting budgets are.

That said, most collisions with moving (and non moving) objects are usually caused by an inappropriate use of speed for the prevailing road conditions.

Following years of research (and probably involving the sacrifice of 1000s of crash test dummies), vehicular crumple zones and other measures, have no doubt reduced the risk of fatalities following impacts with concrete lighting columns.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:10 pm 
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There are broadly two kinds of concrete columns in my mind. First, there are those made in the 1950s and perhaps into the 1960s. These were much thicker and higher specification, and despite their age have stood the test of time well because they were built so solidly. They could almost survive a nuclear apocalypse! Then there are later concrete columns, typically installed in the 1970s and 1980s. Costs were cut in production, and these columns are typically in poorer structural condition just as a result of us living in a wet climate. Concrete columns of all ages can have issues around brackets, but sleeving sorts that issue out nicely. Also, performance varies by manufacturer. Eleco concrete columns were really awful for spalling. Stanton and Staveley were decent in the old days but shockingly poor by the time the last rolled off the production line in the 1990s, with some requiring "reinforcement" around the doors after only a decade in service. Concrete Utilities were fairly decent too, although again earlier products more robust than later products.

There are definitely some concrete columns out there that shouldn't be getting LED upgrades, because the columns are structurally on borrowed time. However, there are also some concrete columns that will easily outlive the LED upgrades.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:09 pm 
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sotonsteve wrote:
Highways England is starting a 10 month scheme to replace the street lighting on the A36 through Salisbury from the Bourne Way Roundabout to St Pauls Roundabout, at a cost of £4.5 million over the approx 3.9km length. That's quite a hefty price tag, as that works out at over £57k per 50m length of road, and 10 months is quite extreme for column replacements on one single road. Mind you, there are plans on another bit of Highways England network to replace literally two columns, taking them off DNO supply and introducing a new feeder pillar and cables to serve the two new columns in the process for a grand total of about £63km, so Highways England are brilliant at making cash disappear. Suggestion in the media is that the existing lighting is 44 years old. Whilst that is likely the case some lengths, a greater proportion of the lighting is actually early 1990s, so more like 25 years old.


Since the start of lockdown, part of the A36 dual carriageway through Salisbury has been reduced to single carriageway working. However as this section wasn't on the essential route to the weekly supermarket shop, I hadn't ventured that way to have a detailed look. I assumed it was the start of the works.

By June, further works appeared in the next section of the ring road, with new foundations and cable trunking appearing in the verge - confirming my thoughts that the new installations would be verge mounted, replacing the existing central reservation columns.

With lockdown eased, and a work trip to the south west yesterday, it enabled me to travel along the section with the lane restrictions. I was disappointed to find out, that the carriageway works were due to bridge deck waterproofing and not a single new column has yet been installed. The new cabling works are even less advanced along this section.

Meanwhile, the LED replacement scheme (Wilts council funded) continues in Salisbury, with main road columns having their brackets cut back to approx the same length as the Axia 3s. Some have been left - for instance by pedestrian crossings or overbridges, where work would cause too much of an obstruction. I assume these will be dealt with at night when traffic levels are lower.

The LED replacement has yet to hit the north Wiltshire town of Marlborough. However Axia 3s are quite widespread in villages/hamlets along the A roads where they have been used to replace Beta 5s with failed lamps. Again there are a mix of black and grey versions, with black probably more common.

It does seem a somewhat labour intensive way of working to keep coming back to these rural locations to add new lanterns. Given the small number of lanterns in each location, it would probably have been more efficient to swap all the lanterns in 1 go - utilising a crew specifically for that purpose. Or, just not bother to replace them at all until the full replacement works reached that area. It's a similar story in my village, 3 Axias now installed, but to do the whole village would probably only take 2 days.

I wonder if the black/grey mix is due to a shortage of the grey lanterns which predominate in Salisbury. The early stages of the south coast PFI saw a similar issue with black Libras and Iridiums initially being installed before being swapped out for  green ones.

The LED replacement scheme is more complete in Amesbury, a small town approx 10 miles north of Salisbury.

These are some night shots via dash cam. The glare is worse than in reality due to the windscreen, but the light coverage is very even but not over bright, with a warmer colour temperature than Lumas and Axia 1s used for casual replacements in the past.

In both cases, the road in the distance is uphill and there are no cars approaching, so the light on the road in the distance is entirely due to the Axias.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:06 pm 
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The lighting on the A36/A3090 interchange at Ower has slowly been decaying over the last few years with cable faults making most of it inoperative, despite the columns and lanterns being "modern".

HE have spent the last 6 months fiddling about with drainage on the north side of the interchange, ironically this section never flooded, but the A36 exit right on the roundabout would frequently flood - the drainage works don't seemed to have addressed this issue.

In the last month new columns and lanterns have also appeared on the north side - but the existing lighting on the other quadrants has not been touched. I presume they cable faults have also been fixed. Dash cam image below.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:04 pm 
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During the period 2017-2019, Wiltshire used Lumas to replace damaged lanterns. These were generally fitted with Telensa RF nodes - the CMS in use at the time, but dimming wasn't implemented, although the lanterns were capable of such operation.

The current mass replacement of discharge lighting with with Axia 3s has used a different CMS.

Towards the end of 2019, casual replacements used the same Axia 3 and nodes as would be used by the retrofit program.  My village is within the range of the new CMS, and there are now 3 Axias fitted as casuals. The new CMS coverage now covers all of Wiltshire, not just urban areas. The Lumas in my village were out of range of the Telensa system and were fitted with (part night) minicells.

In the last few weeks, all the Lumas in the village have had the minicells removed and replaced with a different type of CMS node to the Axias. However, most nodes are now interoperable with the software. This functionality was  implemented by the suppliers a while back.

After the fitting of nodes, the Lumas went all night, and were dimmed full time.

Discussion with Wilts Council has revealed that the node fitting and dimming was made to all Lumas in Wilts. This blanket change unfortunately overwrote any previous switching regime such as part night in the inventory record.

However, Wilts have agreed that part night will be reinstated for the Lumas in my village, the change being made tonight. I will be checking.! ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:36 pm 
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The next section of the A36 Salisbury ring road has had new lighting installed after works that started back in March. The northern section between the Castle roundabout (A345) and the St Mark's roundabout (A30) has verge mounted steel columns with Phosco P861 lanterns. The previous 10m steel columns were in the central reservation and replaced the original CU Highway X concrete columns - also in the central res.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:52 am 
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Works on the ring road have now moved south from St Mark's roundabout, with new columns and lanterns on the stretch of the A36 to the college roundabout as far as the Kelsey Rd slip road. The old central reservation columns which have been switched off for months, are still in place, but the new lighting is not yet commissioned.

The new columns are verge mounted and after 9 months of building foundation plinths in the verge, complete with access steps and what looked like sockets for crash safe columns, (but difficult to see when driving past) the new columns are conventional steel ones which have been set in concrete in the sockets.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:13 pm 
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Highways England know how to over-engineer their street lighting. You'll probably find every column has it's own unique feed cable back to the feeder pillar rather than daisy chaining off a single cable.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:44 pm 
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Hello, I thought I would give some information on the current status of the street lighting in and around the Taunton area in Somerset. The Somerset County Council have nearly wiped out all non LED fixtures on main roads apart from a few roads which retain Urbis ZX3s. All of the new lighting consists of Urbis Axias, Axia 2s and one other type I have not identified.

Examples of new lights on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0275516 ... 384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.022108, ... 384!8i8192

Unidentified light:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0182565 ... 384!8i8192

Urbis ZX3s:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0142436 ... 312!8i6656

However there are a few fairly large areas left mostly untouched from the LED takeover and still retain much of their SOX and HPS lighting in the form of Beta 5's, WRTL SRL8's, Phillips MI80's as well as a few Thorn Alpha's (though remaining Thorn Alpha examples have started to dwindle in the past few months) and what I think are GEC Z9538s and GEC Z9532s (Correct me if I'm wrong) remain in small amounts on industrial estates and minor roads.

Examples of the lights below:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0314258 ... 384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0317718 ... 312!8i6656

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0260756 ... 312!8i6656

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0269746 ... 312!8i6656

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0255584 ... 384!8i8192

All these lights still remain in place last time I checked in recent weeks.

Do correct me if I've made any mistakes since this is my first post and I'm still figuring things out like attaching images and learning the technical names for lights.


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