City to wrap up streetlight replacement project

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 22, 2015

 Older streetlights in Roseville, like this one on 12 Mile Road near Groesbeck Highway, are being replaced with more efficient LED lights. The last batch of old streetlights is due to be replaced in 2016.

Older streetlights in Roseville, like this one on 12 Mile Road near Groesbeck Highway, are being replaced with more efficient LED lights. The last batch of old streetlights is due to be replaced in 2016.

Photo by Kevin Bunch

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ROSEVILLE — The Roseville City Council unanimously approved the final step in replacing all of the city’s streetlights with energy-efficient LED lighting during the council’s meeting Dec. 15.

This is the fifth and final year of streetlight replacement in Roseville. City Manager Scott Adkins said the remaining 922 lights are found throughout the city in residential areas, with the largest concentrations south of 12 Mile Road and around Gratiot.

Older mercury-vapor and high-pressure sodium bulbs are going to be removed in favor of light-emitting diodes, which last longer and require less maintenance, Adkins said. Where possible, the existing streetlight posts are going to be refitted with the LEDs, though some will likely have to be torn down and replaced entirely.

“It’s interesting, because the cost of the changeover is about $186,000,” Adkins said. “However, when you look at your savings, we’re going to save around $55,000 a year in energy savings alone, plus another $40,000 in (DTE energy efficiency) rebates.”

He added that the new lights should pay for themselves within three years. The project is a budgeted item from the capital projects fund.

Work is set to begin on the streetlights in the city after New Year’s Day and will continue until the remaining lights have been converted, Adkins said, though he did not have an idea of how long that would take.

“It’s hard to pinpoint because of the weather,” he said. 

“In our history we’ve been engaged in the prior four years — this is something contractors can come in, get started, and unless you’ve got really adverse weather conditions, they can move basically year-round on the project.”

The city has put in between 600 and 800 LED streetlights over the past four years, and Adkins said there have been practically no issues with them related to the LED conversion. He said some have gone down due to electrical problems or from cars crashing into the poles, but nothing related to the LED bulbs themselves.

The LED poles focus light downward to produce a stronger light below the bulb itself, which also reduces light pollution in the surrounding area. While this also means the light does not diffuse as far out as older bulbs, Adkins said the city is not looking to add additional streetlights specifically from this project. He added that the city does add more streetlights on a regular basis — either from neighborhood petitions or during development changes.

The city has replaced “a few thousand” streetlights through the previous four years of the replacement project, he said.

Scott Simons, spokesman with DTE Energy, said LED lights tend to last much longer and bring cost-savings in terms of energy usage, though the amount varies depending on the lights that the LEDs are replacing. He said residents should notice lighting improvements, if anything.

“They’ll get the same type of light, if not better, than what they’re used to, at a considerably lower cost,” Simons said. “And those lights won’t burn out as fast as previous lighting either.”

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