The city of Peoria will soon replace thousands of streetlights throughout the city with more energy-efficient LED fixtures.
Beginning in September, the city plans to convert all 3,250 arterial streetlights — or those on main roads — and about 1,200 collector streetlights — or those on mid-size roads — from low-sodium pressure to LED (light-emitting diode).
The project — which will cost more than $1.6 million — was unanimously approved by city council on June 18.
“As part of the FY 19 CIP process, council approved $2,050,000 for arterial and collectors streetlight conversions (and pole replacements) from high-pressure sodium to LED. It also included replacement of any worn or damaged poles,” Rhonda Humbles, deputy public works director, said at the meeting.
Staff ultimately audited and inspected the city’s 16,150 streetlights, and the city determined cost estimates and streetlight conversion options, she added.
The reason for the upgrades, she explained, is LED fixtures are brighter and clearer; more illuminating of sidewalks and streets as opposed to private property; on average have a 10-year lifespan, in contrast with seven years for low-sodium pressure lighting; reduce energy consumption, projected to save an estimated $200,000 per year; and are dark sky friendly (approved by the International Dark-Sky Association).
But the city has already begun the move to LED fixtures.
Currently, 123 traffic signals run on LED light and all lighted street name signs and signalized intersections are LED.
And according to Humbles, that’s “in addition to the 475 staff-installed streetlights that the street operations have been phasing in through the streetlight pole replacement program.”
According to a council agenda, LED fixtures are required for new commercial and residential development, but that doesn’t account for older lighting that has yet to be upgraded.
Though a firm timeline is not yet set for project completion, Humbles estimated six to nine months for the conversion of arterial roadways, after which the collector streets will be upgraded as the budget permits, according to the council agenda.
“The collector LED conversion would be based upon a prioritization of the following criteria: traffic volumes, proximity to schools and parks, and bike lanes,” she said.
Expanding on determinants for which lights must be replaced, Humbles said rust and other factors that could affect strength and structural integrity must be taken into account.
“In those areas where sprinklers have attacked and you see rust at the base, those are going to be the priorities,” she said. “We also take into account the date of the installation, so we have that record and we start looking at those first, and then we do the inspections, and the results of those will dictate where we begin.”
As for waste, Humbles said high-pressure sodium fixtures will be recycled “to the extent possible,” and there will be little or no cost to do so.
“I, for one, really like the idea of $200,000 a year savings and moving to something that’s a much more sustainable and smarter avenue for lighting our streets,” Mayor Cathy Carlat said.