UDOT installing heat tape on traffic signals

Mar 7, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: 5:00 pm

UDOT Installs heat tape...

UDOT Installs heat tape (Marcus Hardy)

(Marcus Hardy)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation is installing some heat tape on traffic signals across the state. This is in the hope to prevent snow from obscuring the lights at intersections. 

The problem

UDOt normally manually clears the snow from the traffic lights with a toilet brush-like tool. It’s been the go-to method, but the department feels it was time-consuming and somewhat dangerous. UDOT’s traffic signal operations engineer, Mark Taylor, explained that sending technicians with ice scrapers up to 20 feet in the air in the middle of traffic was risky.

“We have been looking at ways to prevent snow buildup on traffic signals for years now — it has been more of an issue since the change to brighter, more energy-efficient LED signal lights,” said Taylor.

The solution

UDOT experimented with preventing snow buildup on traffic signals a few years ago. As a result, UDOT collaborated to create the heat tape. The tape can be remotely turned on and off during weather when unnecessary.

UDOT has installed the devices on more than 450 signals. It’s been prioritizing lights that face north and west, as these lights tend to get more snow. Heat tape is actively being installed in Cache, Davis, Utah, Salt Lake, and Iron counties.

The tape looks like a cap that sits under the hood of the traffic lights.

The department has 67 intersections ready to go and will continue the rollout throughout 2023.

The cost

“The cost for one traffic signal head, including materials only, is around $250,” said UDOT’s John Gleason. “The installation process is labor-intensive and takes a couple of hours.”

Gleason said the department was hoping lawmakers would provide additional funding for the project, but it did not.

UDOT is working on keeping costs down when installing the tape by connecting it to the spare wires in the signal head since the tape is powered by electricity. It’s turned on a few hours before a storm and remains on until the storm is done.

Gleason said the cost to operate one heater is $0.32 per hour and $.97 per day. So if you have three lights per intersection, the cost to run them for 24 hours is approximately $3.

UDOT’s groundbreaking tech

UDOT’s heat-tape application is a first for any department of transportation nationwide. Gleason said it works well in most conditions and integrates into existing traffic light wiring.

In addition, the tape eliminates the need to manually clear snow and ice. And by doing so, the tape improves driver visibility and safety during severe weather.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Vehicles travel on I-15 in northern Utah County. New Mountain View Corridor construction is set to ...

Tammy Kikuchi

Construction on Mountain View Corridor project to begin this week

The Utah Department of Transportation will start construction Wednesday on a segment of the Mountain View Corridor.

5 minutes ago

Sam Snyder, ski technician, uses mountainFLOW Eco-Wax, a biodegradable, plant-based, fluoro-free wa...

Eric Cabrera and Derrick Jones

PFAS chemicals found in Park City water, ski wax to blame

A potentially dangerous chemical (PFAS) was found in three Park City water wells. All signs point to the slopes and ski wax.

36 minutes ago

FILE -- The gathering room at the YCC Family Crisis Center in Ogden is pictured on Tuesday, July 9,...

Heather Peterson

Transitional housing for domestic violence victims opening soon in Ogden

Victims of domestic violence will soon have another way to escape dangerous situations in Weber County. The YCC Family Crisis Center is building transitional housing by way of a new 14-unit apartment complex in Ogden to house domestic violence victims. Domestic violence is cited as the reason 22-57% of women experience homelessness by the National […]

2 hours ago

season 2 of the letter podcast features family of jordan rasmussen...

Amy Donaldson

The Letter podcast debuts second season on 1982 murders

The 1982 Millcreek murders of two young fathers sets the stage for season 2 of The Letter podcast, exploring themes of trauma and forgiveness.

3 hours ago

Utah's pharmacy shelves are feeling the strain as the state grapples with a substancial drug shorta...

Eric Cabrera

Drug shortages in Utah pharmacies leave many without medication

Utah's pharmacies grapple with drug shortages. According to a recent study, Utah is the fourth highest in the country for drug shortages.

10 hours ago

Media representatives get a chance to tour the Layton Temple on Monday, April 15, 2024....

Britt Johnson

Preparations underway for Layton, Utah Temple open house

Church leaders and community members said they're looking forward to sharing the spirit of the Layton Temple.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

UDOT installing heat tape on traffic signals