Quality Illumination and Shock-Absorbing Technology Benefits of Lighting System

Heavy highway construction jobsites offer many challenges for contractors - they are often close to moving traffic, loud and increasingly the work needs to be done at night. For Curtin Trucking & Drainage, a heavy highway construction company out of North Carolina, their challenge on a nighttime shoulder drain project along 225,000 feet of I-26 in North Carolina was finding a lighting system that could illuminate the worksite and hold up to the heavy vibrations of the trenching equipment being used to dig a 1-foot wide and 1-foot deep trench.

To light the way of workers on the project, Curtin Trucking & Drainage utilized three of Airstar America's Sirocco 2K light balloons equipped with halogen bulbs. Each generator-powered lighting unit was attached to a vehicle in the work train, including a service truck towing a pipe trailer, a widener and a 655 Vermeer trencher. Nick Delaney, an estimator with Curtin Trucking & Drainage, says the trencher vibration had minimal affect on the Sirocco 2K units.

"The trenching equipment shakes the ground you're standing on. It cuts the asphalt and brings out the milling," Delaney explains. "It's a real testament to the cage, springs and shock-absorbing technology that these lights worked on this machine." He adds that Curtin Trucking & Drainage replaced only two bulbs and one fuse throughout the course of the entire job.

The ability to mount the lighting units on the equipment allowed Curtin Trucking & Drainage to avoid utilizing tow lights that would move with the train. "When you have a towable light tower, it means you have someone on site to move that light, and that means more men, more equipment and more time," Delaney explains.

Another important feature of the Sirocco 2K lights has to do with the lighting quality itself, Delaney adds. The envelope, or balloon, diffuses the light and produces a glare-free light source. "You underestimate the quality of a light until you work under a good one," Delaney says. "Other lights can be blinding. That can be bad for the workers on site and also bad for the motoring public."

Providing quality lighting on this particular project was important for safety, Delaney explains, since traffic whizzed by only one foot from the jobsite. Halogen bulbs also offer no restrike, or charging time, and the bulbs are less expensive to replace than other light sources.

He adds that lighting is a growing issue for highway contractors. "We're seeing more and more highway work at night, especially when a contractor is working close to a big city. Because municipalities want minimal lane closures, highway work is night work," he says.

The Sirocco 2K balloon light can be mounted to a piece of equipment or on a stand. One glare-free, high-powered lighting unit can illuminate jobsite areas up to 15,000 square feet in diameter. The balloon inflates in less than 30 seconds and offers 360-degree illumination. Smaller and larger light models are available, with either halogen or metal halide lamps.