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  LOCATION:China Kaiye Lighting Limited > News > Enterprise dynamic
City officials brighten to idea of LED streetlights
views count:1746 Date:2015-03-09 15:54:08 Author:Melvin

Those who attended either of the Transportation Trust Fund 5 public meetings may have noticed streetlights were given their own section, alongside posters advertising for specific projects or general road repair.
The poster for streetlights asked people to part with $800,000 of the $20 million in "Cape Cash" they were given at the door. That may seem pricey, but public works director Tim Gramling said the purchase the city hopes to make would pay for itself in a few years.

Ideally, the city would replace existing lights and buy new streetlights outfitted with more energy-efficient light-emitting diodes, or LED lights.

Purchasing the lights comes with a high startup cost, but they use up to 50 percent less electricity.

The city of Cape Girardeau paid about $455,000 in 2014 for operating 3,110 streetlights. That's about twice as many lights as it paid for 20 years ago, before voters approved the first TTF.

Streetlights paid for by the city have grown more quickly in numbers than miles of streets in its care. It maintains about 233 miles of streets, compared to fewer than 200 miles in 1994.

The growth represents a demand for more lights around the city. City traffic operations engineer Stan Polivick said the city regularly receives requests for additional streetlights.

"There's a real demand for either upgrading the lighting that exists to a higher wattage, or adding fixtures between those that are there now," he said.

The continued interest in additional lights is reflected in the proposed TTF 5 projects, which await formal approval from the city council, pending public input.

Of the eight specified projects on the list, four call for additional streetlights. If each project is approved and voters choose to renew the next installment of TTF in August, these lights would go up on sections of New Madrid Street, North Main Street, West End Boulevard and a new segment of Fountain Street between William and Independence streets. If any of the projects are rejected for one of the four on the alternate projects list, three of those include installation of new streetlights.

The $6 million set aside in TTF 5 for general projects, which includes needs such as street and gutter repair, also could fund new streetlights.

A discussion on streetlights occurred at the Red Star Neighborhood Revival's most recent neighborhood association meeting. The group, created through the city's Neighborhood Development Initiative, said it felt the neighborhood was covered pretty well by lights, but certain areas were noticeably dark.

John Gregory, one of the group's neighborhood leaders, was among those who said a light was needed near the Victory Outreach Ministry building at 1000 Big Bend Road, near the Sloan Creek bridge.

The area is a few dozen yards away from Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, just outside the reach of its many lights. The road is heavily used by those in the Red Star neighborhood. It also remains a part of a popular truck route.

"All through [Big Bend Road] we have good light, but that area is just dark," Gregory said.

Like many at the meeting, he felt it was a safety issue, especially for pedestrians using sidewalks along that stretch of the road.

The operation and maintenance of streetlights in Cape Girardeau is achieved through an agreement between the city and Ameren Missouri. Polivick said the city owns and is fully responsible for a few lights, but the majority are maintained by Ameren, with the electricity paid by the city. To switch the city-owned lights to an LED system would require little more than notifying Ameren of the change, but switching the lights maintained by the electric company requires the two entities working together.

"Converting to an LED system, which is something I believe everyone has an interest in, there would need to be cooperation between the city and Ameren to get the lights owned by Ameren switched over," Polivick said. He's confident the two could easily work together.

While the switch would lead to savings for the city, Polivick said it's going to take time. It will require a few years before the lights pay for themselves, he said, but ultimately they will. That's why the city hopes people consider the benefits to the plan, rather than balk at the high upfront costs.

"There is a long-term sustainability aspect to this, which is absolutely critical to understand," said Polivick.

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