Do you recognize the locale shown in the picture above? It's the portion of the Arterial, facing northbound on Routes 8 and 12, approaching the marsh near downtown Utica.

That's no UFO, but one of the new light poles towering 150 feet over the north-south Arterial. If you've ever driven that stretch of road in the Mohawk Valley and wondered about those lights, you're not alone. We noticed them and decided to ask Jim Piccola, the Public Information Officer at the Utica office of the New York State Department of Transportation, to give us some details.

The four high-mast light poles were installed in 2014, and might be something you take for granted. But, they are remarkable in function and economy.

Each of the galvanized poles contains a halo with 12 600-watt LED lights, which give off the optical illusion of a blue flying saucer you see in some pictures.


They replaced the previous high pressure sodium light bulbs that were 1200 watts. Piccola says the new LED lights cost about $176 a year to operate. That comes at a significant savings compared to the older lights and help keep Central New York motorists safe and sound.


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