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Construction Management and Economics (June 2006) 24, 591601

Field experiments to evaluate lighting performance in


nighttime highway construction
KHALIED HYARI1 and KHALED El-RAYES2*
1

Department of Civil Engineering, The Hashemite University, PO Box 150459, Zarqa 13115, Jordan
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
61801, USA

Received 24 February 2005; accepted 27 January 2006

The utilisation of nighttime highway construction has increased in recent years in order to minimise daytime
construction-related service disruptions and traffic congestion. In this type of nighttime construction, lighting
arrangements need to be properly designed and implemented in order to enhance safety and productivity on
site, and ensure full compliance with the required lighting specifications. A number of field experiments were
conducted to evaluate the performance of various lighting arrangements in three typical highway construction
zones, namely: activity area, transition and termination areas and flagger stations. In each of these zones, a
number of practical lighting arrangements were found to be capable of satisfying all the lighting design criteria
required by various Departments of Transportation. The experimental results also confirm that the set-up of
lighting equipment on site has a significant impact on lighting performance, and therefore lighting
arrangements should be carefully designed and executed on nighttime highway construction projects.
Keywords: Highway construction, workspace, nighttime construction, computer models, light

Introduction
An increasing number of highway construction and
maintenance projects are being performed during offpeak nighttime hours in order to minimise the negative
impact of daytime highway construction on traffic flows
(Cottrell, 1999; Bryden and Mace, 2002; El-Rayes and
Hyari, 2002; Al-Kaisy and Nassar, 2003; El-Rayes and
Hyari, 2003; Ellis et al., 2003; El-Rayes and Hyari,
2005). Despite the increased utilisation of nighttime
highway construction in recent years, this practice still
faces serious challenges, especially in providing proper
and adequate lighting conditions during nighttime
operations. Insufficient lighting, on the one hand,
contributes to an increase in worker injury rates
(Dove, 1996; Vollner et al., 1998; Jenicek, 2002), and
adversely affects work quality (Hinze and Carlisle,
1990; Park et al., 2002). Excessive and improper
lighting, on the other hand, can cause (1) glare and
safety hazards for both drivers and construction workers (Ellis et al., 2003); and (2) light trespass to
*Author for correspondence. E-mail: elrayes@uiuc.edu

adjoining properties and unnecessary waste of energy


(Schexnayder, 1999; El-Rayes et al., 2003).
In order to fully realise the benefits of nighttime
construction and minimise its adverse effects on the
safety of motorists and construction workers, there
is a pressing need for research that investigates
practical approaches to improve the utilisation of
lighting equipment in nighttime highway construction
zones. The objective of this paper is to present the
findings of a recent research study that conducted a
set of field experiments in order to (1) identify
practical and proper lighting arrangements for
nighttime construction operations; and (2) measure
their performance in satisfying the existing lighting
design criteria required by various Departments of
Transportation.
The field experiments were conducted to evaluate
the performance of various lighting arrangements that
are commonly found in nighttime highway construction
zones. According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices (MUTCD, 2000), highway construction zones are divided into four major areas: (1) activity
area; (2) transition area; (3) termination area; and (4)
advance warning and flagger station area, as shown in

Construction Management and Economics


ISSN 0144-6193 print/ISSN 1466-433X online # 2006 Taylor & Francis
http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
DOI: 10.1080/01446190600601669

592
Figure 1. The field experiments in this study focused
on evaluating lighting performance in these major
highway construction zone areas that are required to
be illuminated during nighttime work including: (1)
activity area; (2) transition and termination areas; and
(3) flagger stations. The following sections provide a
brief description of the conducted experiments and the
measured lighting performance in each of these three
types of illuminated nighttime highway construction
zone areas.

Activity area lighting


In this highway construction zone area, nighttime
lighting is required to enhance the safety of workers
and the quality of construction work. In order to
explore and identify practical lighting arrangements for
nighttime activity areas, field experiments were conducted to measure lighting performance in a set-up
activity area. The experiments were conducted at the
Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering
Laboratory (ATREL) at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. The location of the experiments
was selected in an area that was not equipped with
any type of street lighting in order to study the lighting requirements for the most demanding (i.e. least
illuminated) highway construction zone at night.
The following sections describe the conducted field

Figure 1 Evaluated lighting arrangements

Hyari and El-Rayes


experiments and provide an overview of: (1) the set-up
of lighting arrangements; (2) the criteria used to evaluate lighting performance; (3) the equipment utilised to
measure lighting performance; and (4) the measured
lighting performance in the examined activity areas.
Set-up of lighting arrangements
In the field experiments, light towers were utilised to
provide lighting for the examined activity areas. The
manufacturer of these towers provided the following
main equipment features and specifications: (1) each
tower is equipped with four 1,000-watt metal halide
luminaires with light distribution of NEMA 7
(Exceline, 2003), as shown in Figure 2; (2) aiming
and rotation angles of all luminaires are adjustable in all
directions; and (3) mounting height of luminaires can
be extended up to 7.8m. As such, the equipment set-up
parameters that were varied and tested in these
experiments include: (1) spacing, which depicts the
horizontal distance between two adjacent towers
measured in a direction parallel to the roadway as
shown in Figure 3; (2) offset distance, which describes
the horizontal distance between the light towers and the
edge of the highway construction zone measured in a
direction perpendicular to the roadway (see Figure 3);
(3) mounting height of luminaires, which represents
the vertical distance between the centre of the luminaires and the pavement surface as shown in Figure 3;

593

Lighting performance in nighttime highway construction

performance criteria: (1) average illuminance; (2)


lighting uniformity; (3) light trespass; and (4) glare.
(1) Average illuminance

Figure 2 Utilised light towers

(4) aiming angle of luminaire, which denotes the vertical angle between the centre of the beam spread of
the luminaire and the nadir as shown in Figure 3; and
(5) rotation angle of luminaire, which represents the
rotation of each luminaire in a horizontal plane (see
Figure 3).
Performance criteria
In order to ensure that the tested arrangements satisfy
all the requirements of existing nighttime lighting
specifications, the performance of each arrangement
was measured on site using four major lighting

Figure 3 Set-up parameters in activity area experiments

Existing nighttime construction specifications require


a minimum level of average illuminance that needs to
be provided on site to ensure the availability of
adequate lighting conditions for all planned nighttime
construction tasks. Illuminance represents the density
of luminous flux (i.e. time rate of flow of light
measured in lumens) incident on a surface area in
lux (lumen/m2), and it can be measured on site using
simple illuminance meters, as shown in Figure 4(a)
(Taylor, 2000). The minimum illuminance level
required by existing nighttime lighting specifications
depends on the type of construction task, and it
ranges from 54 to 216 lux (Australian Government
Publishing Service, 1979; CIE, 1986; New York State
DOT, 1995; North Carolina DOT, 1995; RRD 216,
1996; Michigan DOT, 1999; Hutchings, 1998;
Bryden and Mace, 2002; Ellis et al., 2003; Oregon
DOT, 2003).
(2) Lighting uniformity
A maximum ratio of lighting uniformity should not be
exceeded in the activity area to ensure that light is
uniformly distributed and reaches all parts of the work
area. Lighting uniformity can be quantified using a
ratio of average illuminance on site to the minimum
level of illuminance measured in the work area
(IESNA, 2000a). The maximum levels of uniformity
ratio specified in existing nighttime lighting standards

594

Hyari and El-Rayes

Figure 4 Utilised illuminance and luminance meters

range from 5:1 to 10:1 (New York State DOT, 1995;


El-Rayes et al., 2003, Ellis et al., 2003; Oregon DOT,
2003).

recommends a maximum ratio of 0.4 to control glare


caused by permanent roadway lighting (IESNA, 2000a).

(3) Light trespass

Measuring equipment

Light trespass can be defined as light from an artificial


light source that is intruding into an area where it is not
wanted or does not belong (Connecticut Municipal
Regulation, 2001). It can be controlled by measuring
vertical illuminance at the edge of the affected property
line using a simple illuminance meter, as shown in
Figure 4(a). These vertical illuminance measurements
should be taken at a vertical height that represents the
plane of an observers eye at possible viewing locations
of the light source (IESNA, 2000b). The Illuminating
Engineering Society of North America (IESNA)
recommends maximum vertical illuminance limits to
control light trespass caused by outdoor lighting
(IESNA, 2000b). These roadway lighting limits can
be used as a guideline if nighttime lighting in the
highway construction zone causes annoyance for
residences adjoining the worksite. The recommended
vertical illuminance levels to control trespass from
roadway lighting range from 1 lux for post-curfew hours
in suburban and rural residential areas to 15 lux for precurfew hours in dense urban areas with mixed
residential and commercial use (IESNA, 2000b).

The following equipment was utilised to measure


lighting performance in the conducted field experiments:
(1)

(2)

(4) Glare
A maximum level of glare should not be exceeded in and
around the highway construction zone to minimise its
negative impact on road users and construction workers.
Glare can be defined as the sensation of annoyance,
discomfort or loss of visual performance and visibility
due to experiencing luminance in the visual field
significantly greater than that to which the eyes of the
observer are adapted (Pritchard, 1999). Glare can be
quantified using the veiling luminance ratio (IESNA,
2000a). It should be noted that available lighting
standards do not specify a maximum veiling luminance
ratio for nighttime construction; however, IESNA

(3)

(4)

Illuminance meter: An illuminance meter was


used to measure both horizontal and vertical
illuminance during field tests. The illuminance
meter was used to measure (1) average illuminance in the highway construction zone; (2)
uniformity ratio on site; and (3) light trespass to
adjoining property. The meter shown in
Figure 4(a) has a range of illuminance measurements from 0 to 50,000 lux. This meter is a
cosine-corrected and colour-corrected illuminance meter. It can be used to measure
illuminance, in both lux or foot candles, under
different types of lamps.
Luminance meter: A luminance meter was
utilised to measure pavement luminance in
order to facilitate the evaluation and computation of glare (i.e. veiling luminance) during the
field tests. The meter shown in Figure 4(b) can
measure luminance levels from 0.001 to
299,900 cd/m2 and has a one-degree acceptance angle.
Angle locator: A magnetic angle locator was used
in the experiments to measure and identify the
aiming and rotation angles of each luminaire in
various light towers. The magnetic angle
locator shown in Figure 5 is capable of measuring the angle of any surface from a horizontal or
a vertical plane.
Surveying equipment: A total station was used in
combination with tapes to mark a grid of points
on the pavement to facilitate the measurements
of illuminance levels at the predetermined grid
points during the experiments.

595

Lighting performance in nighttime highway construction

Figure 5 Angle locator used to measure aiming and rotation


angles

Measured performance
Various layouts of activity areas were set up and
examined to enable the evaluation of lighting performance in a wide range of nighttime highway construction zones. After consultation with operation engineers
in the Illinois Department of Transportation, two
typical sizes of activity areas were selected for the field
tests. The first was identified to represent relatively
short two-lane activity areas (i.e. 7m630m) that can be
illuminated using two light towers, as shown in Table 1.
The second represents longer two-lane activity areas
(i.e. 7m675m) that require the utilisation of at least
three light towers: two exterior at both ends of the area
and one interior at the middle of the area. As shown in
Figure 6, the middle section of this activity area is
primarily illuminated by the interior tower in addition
to secondary contributions from the two adjacent
towers on both sides, and therefore it represents a
modular section that can be repeated as much as
needed between the two exterior towers in longer
activity areas that exceed 75m in length. As such, these
two examined activity areas cover a wide range of
nighttime highway construction zones.
Various combinations of the aforementioned five setup parameters for the utilised light towers in the activity
area (see Figure 3) can create a very large set of possible
lighting arrangements. To narrow down these possible
combinations to a feasible set of experiments, a
preliminary field study was conducted in a number of
actual nighttime highway construction projects to
identify the most promising lighting arrangements for
the field experiments (El-Rayes et al., 2003; Hyari,
2004). This led to the selection of more than 25 unique
arrangements, where each was set up on site to examine

the collective impact of the five set-up parameters (see


Figure 3) on lighting performance in average illuminance, lighting uniformity, light trespass and glare. In
order to facilitate the measurement of average illuminance and lighting uniformity ratio, each tested activity
area was divided into a grid of equally spaced points
that were marked on the pavement surface using a
yellow paint. To enable a uniform pattern of measurements of illuminance, the selected spacing between
these grid points was 3m based on the recommendations of the DOT engineers who participated in the
experiments. Similarly, light trespass was evaluated by
measuring vertical illuminance at a height of 1.5m
above ground level at the edge of the property line,
which is assumed to be located at 30m from the
highway construction zone, as shown in Figure 1.
In order to facilitate the measurement of glare during
the experiments, each tested highway construction zone
was set up in a way that enabled driving through in both
directions to evaluate glare (i.e. veiling luminance) at
various locations, as shown in Figure 7. According to
IESNA (2000a), this can be achieved in four major
steps: (1) identifying possible observer positions in and
around the highway construction zone as shown in
Figure 7; (2) measuring average pavement luminance
(Lo) experienced by the driver at each observer point o
using the luminance meter shown in Figure 4(a); (3)
computing glare/veiling luminance (VLo) experienced
by the observer/driver at point o as shown in Figure 7,
using the formulas adopted in IESNA standards
(equations (1) to (3)) for roadway lighting (IESNA,
2000a); and (4) identifying the glare/veiling luminance
ratio (Vo) at each observer position o, which represents
the ratio between the veiling luminance (VLo) and the
pavement luminance (Lo) experienced by the driver at
observer point o, as shown in Figure 7. For each of the
tested lighting arrangements, glare/veiling luminance
ratio (Vo) was measured and evaluated in all possible
observer points (o51 to O), and the highest glare level
was identified as shown in Table 1. As stated earlier,
IESNA recommends that glare ratios not exceed the
maximum allowable limit of 0:4 in order to control
glare and ensure adequate visibility for nighttime
drivers (IESNA, 2000a).

K 
X
1
VLo ~To
hok n
k~1

To ~10 VEo

n~2:3{0:7 log10 hok

for hok v20

n~2

for hok w20

596

Table 1 Measured performance of selected lighting arrangements


No.

Area
dimension

Set-up of lighting arrangement

Measured performance

Number
of light
towers

Tower
spacing
(m)

Offset
distance
(m)

Mounting
height
(m)

Aiming
angle

Rotation
angle

Average
illuminance
(lux)

Lighting
uniformity
ratio

Glare/veiling
luminance
ratio

Light
trespass*
(lux)

7m630m

30

7.8

20u

Both light towers: 3


luminaires at 45u
toward activity
area & 1 luminaire
at 45u toward
transition area

669

5.4

0.11

20

7m630m

20

7.8

0u

Both light towers: 2


luminaires at 0u &
2 luminaires at
45u split in both
directions

500

0.04

7m675m

30

7.8

20u

Two exterior towers: 3


luminaires at 45u
toward activity
area & 1 luminaire
at 45u toward
transition area
Interior light tower: 4
luminaires at 45u
split in both
directions

552

4.83

0.12

20

7m675m

30

7.8

45u

All 3 light towers: 4


luminaires at 45u
split in both
directions

413

4.3

0.2

26

Notes: * Vertical illuminance measured 1.5m above ground level at the edge of the property line located at 30m from the highway construction zone (see Figure 1).

Hyari and El-Rayes

597

Lighting performance in nighttime highway construction

Figure 6 Measured illuminance levels for a 7675m activity area

where,

N
N
N

VE o 5vertical illuminance (VE o ) measured


using an illuminance meter at the plane of the
observers eye at point o as shown in Figure 7;
To5a variable that can be calculated using
equation (2);
hok5angle between the line of sight at observers

Figure 7

Measuring and identifying glare

location o and the line connecting the observers


eye and luminaire k (see Figure 7); and
n5a variable which can be calculated using
equation (3).

The performance of each tested lighting arrangement


was evaluated using the earlier described criteria of

598
average illuminance, lighting uniformity, light trespass
and glare. A number of the tested arrangements were
capable of satisfying the lighting requirements in all
four criteria, while others failed in satisfying one or
more of them. Table 1 provides a selected sample of the
tested arrangements that were found to be both
practical to set up on site and successful in satisfying
the specified lighting performance criteria. The measured performance of additional practical lighting
arrangements that were also tested and found to satisfy
these nighttime lighting requirements can be found in
El-Rayes and Hyari (2005) and El-Rayes et al. (2003).
It should be noted that these example lighting arrangement are modular ones that can be expanded to
accommodate longer highway construction zones, by
simply increasing the number of lighting towers while
keeping the spacing between towers and the other
parameters unchanged. Figure 6 also shows in more
detail the distribution of the measured horizontal
illuminance for one of the tested lighting arrangements
(i.e. the third arrangement in Table 1), that has a width
of 7m (i.e. two lanes) and a length of 75m.
As shown in Table 1, the results of the field
experiments confirm that the earlier equipment set-up
parameters have a significant impact on the lighting
performance that can be achieved in nighttime highway
construction zones. For example, Table 1 shows that
the main differences between the equipment set-up
parameters in the first and second arrangements are:
(1) the spacing between towers was reduced from 30m
to 20m; (2) the aiming angles of the four luminaires
were reduced from 20u to 0u; and (3) the rotation
angles of the four luminaires were changed as shown in
Table 1. These changes led to (1) significant improvement in lighting uniformity as indicated by the
reduction of uniformity ratio from 5.4 to 4.0; (2)
enhanced glare levels which were reduced from a
ratio of 0.11 to 0.04; and (3) improved light trespass
conditions which were cut from 20 to 5 lux; and (4) a
minor reduction in illuminance levels from 669 lux to
500 lux, as shown in Table 1. Since the illuminance
levels achieved by the second arrangement (500 lux) are
still significantly greater than the minimum requirements of existing standards (New York State DOT,
1995; North Carolina DOT, 1995; Michigan DOT,
1999; Oregon DOT, 2003), additional field experiments were conducted to increase the spacing
between towers in an attempt to reduce costs and light
trespass. These additional experiments with increased
tower spacing, however, failed to satisfy lighting
uniformity requirements, which can be considered the
governing criterion in these tested lighting arrangements.
Similarly for longer activity areas, a closer examination of the third and fourth arrangements in Table 1

Hyari and El-Rayes


indicates that increasing the luminaires aiming angles
from 20u to 45u and varying the rotation angle of one
the four luminaires in the two exterior towers led to an
improvement in lighting uniformity as indicated by the
reduction of the uniformity ratio from 4.83 to 4.3.
These changes, however, caused deterioration in (1)
average illuminance which decreased from 552 to
413 lux; (2) glare levels which increased from a ratio
of 0.12 to 0.2; and (3) light trespass which increased
from 20 to 26 lux. The results in Table 1 clearly
illustrate the trade-offs in nighttime construction lighting, and indicate that each of the tested arrangements
provides a varying degree of satisfaction to each of the
four lighting performance criteria. The findings of these
experiments led to the development and validation of a
lighting design model that is capable of calculating the
impact of various equipment set-up parameters on the
average illuminance, lighting uniformity and glare
levels in the activity area (El-Rayes and Hyari, 2005;
Hyari, 2004).

Transition area and termination area lighting


Transition and termination areas represent the two
areas that are immediately located before or after the
activity area, as shown in Figure 1. These areas need to
be illuminated in order to help drivers: (1) adjust to the
changes in lighting levels when they travel from a
relatively dark roadway environment to a bright lighting
condition in the activity area; and (2) recognise the
highway construction zone from a far enough distance
that prepares them to properly respond to the new road
conditions (e.g. by lowering speed). It should be noted
that lighting requirements in the transition and
termination areas are similar since the former requires
a gradual build-up in lighting levels and the latter
demands a gradual decrease in illumination to ensure a
smooth visual transition from a dark roadway environment to a relatively bright work area and vice versa,
as shown in Figure 1. Available lighting requirements in New York State DOT (1995) and National
Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)
recommendations (Ellis et al., 2003) specify a minimum average horizontal illuminance of 54 lux to be
maintained in transition and termination areas.
Although this lighting level can be achieved using the
commonly available light towers, the field experiments
indicated that other lighting equipment can also be
utilised in the lighting of transition areas.
The field experiments examined and compared the
performance of two selected types of lighting equipment for transition areas: (1) portable light towers (see
Figure 2); and (2) ground-mounted lighting on tripods

599

Lighting performance in nighttime highway construction

if ground-mounted lights on tripods are utilised with


higher mounting height.

Flagger station lighting

Figure 8 Example lighting arrangement for flagger station

(see Figure 8). The second lighting equipment utilised


two 500-watt quartz lamps that were mounted on a
tripod with an adjustable height of up to 3m, as shown
in Figure 8. The experiments showed that the use of
lighting on tripods provides an efficient and costeffective solution for transition areas, especially when
several of these tripods can be connected to a single
portable generator. For example, the experiments
revealed that either four light towers spaced at 50m
or 16 lighting tripods spaced at 12m can be used to
provide the required lighting for the typical length of
200m of the transition zone. It was also found that
the daily rental cost of one light tower is approximately double that of four lighting tripods. Furthermore, the utilisation of several ground-mounted
lighting tripods was found to satisfy the minimum
required illuminance of 54 lux (Ellis et al., 2003;
Bryden and Mace, 2002) and provide better lighting
uniformity than that achieved using a single light tower.
For light towers spaced at 50m with 7.8m mounting
height, the obtained average illuminance was 300 lux
and the uniformity ratio was 27:1. On the other hand,
ground-mounted lights on tripods spaced at 12m with
3m mounting height provided an average illuminance level of 125 lux and a uniformity ratio of 11:1.
Further improvements in uniformity can be achieved

Flagger stations should be properly illuminated to


ensure that all flaggers are clearly visible to traffic and
that their positions are safe and effective (Bryden and
Mace, 2002). As such, lighting of flagger stations needs
to provide a minimum average vertical illuminance
level of 108 lux for flagger stations to ensure their
visibility to incoming traffic without causing objectionable glare to motorists (El-Rayes et al., 2003). In order
to achieve this, field experiments were performed to
evaluate an example lighting arrangement for flagger
stations using two luminaires positioned above the
flagger with 500-watt quartz lamps, as shown in
Figure 8. This lighting arrangement complies with the
recommendations provided by NCHRP Report 476,
which states nighttime flaggers need to be illuminated
from above rather than from the front or rear to reduce
glare for approaching drivers and for the flagger
(Bryden and Mace, 2002). The lights were positioned
on a ground-mounted tripod at a height of approximately 3m and aimed straight down to avoid causing
glare to the traffic approaching the highway construction zone (Bryden and Mace, 2002; El-Rayes et al.,
2003), as shown in Figure 8. The measured performance of this arrangement indicated that it was capable
of satisfying the required lighting level for flagger
stations (i.e. vertical illuminance of 108 lux) without
causing objectionable glare to motorists.

Conclusion
A number of field experiments have been conducted in
order to identify practical lighting arrangements for
nighttime highway construction zones. The field
experiments evaluated lighting performance in the
highway construction zones of: activity area, transition/termination area and flagger stations. The results
of the experiments indicated that commercially available lighting equipment needs to be carefully arranged
and set up on site in order to provide satisfactory
lighting conditions in each of these highway construction zone areas. In the tested activity areas, the results
of the experiments indicated that commercially available lighting towers can be used effectively to satisfy
existing lighting requirements for nighttime construction activities. In the examined transition and termination areas, the experimental results showed that the
utilisation of ground-mounted lighting equipment on

600
tripods can provide a cost-effective lighting solution,
especially when several of these tripods can be
connected to a single portable generator. In flagger
stations, the results of the experiments indicated that
the positioning of ground-mounted luminaires above
flagger stations can satisfy the required lighting levels
without causing objectionable levels of glare. As such,
the experimental results confirmed that commercially
available lighting equipment is capable of satisfying all
the requirements of existing lighting standards when it
is properly positioned and set up in nighttime highway
construction zones. The results also showed that each
of the tested lighting arrangements provides a varying
degree of satisfaction to each of the four lighting
performance criteria (i.e. average illuminance, lighting
uniformity, glare and light trespass). Decision makers,
therefore, need to evaluate these trade-offs, and select
an arrangement that best suits the specific requirements
of the highway construction zone being considered.

Acknowledgements
The financial support provided for this research project
by the Illinois Transportation Research Center under
grant number ITRC-02 VD-H1, and by the National
Science Foundation under the NSF CAREER Award
CMS-0238470 is gratefully acknowledged. The
authors also wish to acknowledge the contributions of
Professor Liang Liu from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, Professor Lucio Soibelman from
the University of Carnegie Mellon, and Professor Ralph
Ellis from the University of Florida.

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