Streetlight replacement program heads back to South Side in project’s next phase

SHARE Streetlight replacement program heads back to South Side in project’s next phase
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The city wants to save money by replacing outdated streetlights with energy-efficient LED technology. | Sun-Times file photo

A program to replace Chicago’s streetlights with LED bulbs and other cost-saving technologies is headed back to the South Side in the next major phase of the project.

As of Monday, the city has replaced 42,000 high-pressure sodium bulbs with brighter, more efficient LED lights that will consume 50 to 75 percent less energy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office announced Monday.

Crews recently completed work replacing the bulbs on arterial streets on the North Side and in priority residential neighborhoods on the West Side, the city said. The next stage will focus on arterial streets and priority neighborhoods on the South Side.

Replacements in the first year of the program focused on South and West Side neighborhoods “allowing communities in the greatest need to most quickly reap the benefits of clearer and more reliable lighting,” according to the statement.

The city plans for the new bulbs to be installed in portions of every ward by the end of summer.

The program will save the city $100 million in the next 10 years by cutting electricity costs by more than 50 percent, the city expects. The longer lifespan of the new bulbs and an estimated $35 million in rebates from ComEd will also cut energy costs for taxpayers.

New technology will alert maintenance crews when the LED bulbs go dark. The new fixtures will do a better job of directing light down to streets and sidewalks, helping to eliminate light pollution and improve nighttime visibility.

A map of completed and upcoming installation projects, as well as more information about the program, is available at www.chicagosmartlighting.org.

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