Public Lighting Authority of Detroit begins installation of LED street lights

February 18, 2014

Public Lighting Authority of Detroit begins installation of LED street lights

Installation in two demonstration areas to be completed by May

DETROIT – The Public Lighting Authority of Detroit (PLA) Wednesday marked the beginning of installation of new Light Emitting Diode (LED) street lights in the City, the latest step in the PLA’s mission to relight Detroit.

Workers installed a new light at the corner of Greiner and Hamburg streets on the City’s east side as the first of some 50,000 new lights that will be installed in the City over the next two years.

“Today marks a milestone in providing modern, reliable public lighting for the citizens of Detroit,” said Mayor Mike Duggan, who was present at the installation.  “With the decision to install all LED lights, the Public Lighting Authority is ensuring that we are providing our citizens with up-to-date technology that will serve our City well for the foreseeable future.”

PLA Executive Director, Odis Jones said the installation of the first LED lights shows that the PLA board is “determined to provide the citizens of Detroit with the lighting they deserve.  Clearly we are on our way to reversing decades of disinvestment in the City’s street lights.”

The lights installed Wednesday are in one of two demonstration areas that the PLA designated last year to begin the relighting of the City.  The east side demonstration area has boundaries of Eight Mile, Kelly Rd., Hoover and Houston Whittier.  The west side demonstration project has boundaries of McNichols on the north, Southfield Rd. on the east, Fenkell on the south and the City boundary on the west.

East and West Demonstration Areas are First to Get New Street Lights

Construction in the two areas is scheduled to be completed by the end of May. When that happens, the PLA will take over responsibility for maintaining the lights in the areas, with a goal of fixing any broken light within five days of it being reported. At that time, residents in these areas will receive contact information to report any damages, outages or issues with the lights.

An engineering survey of the two pilot areas that was completed last year showed that nearly half the lights in both areas are not working.  The survey collected specific information about the condition of every single street light in both project areas.  The survey work is now being continued into other parts of the City so that the relighting will continue without interruption when the two demonstration areas are completed.

Timeline Accelerated to Relight Detroit and Switch to LED Lights

The PLA began installing new lights in the demonstration areas in early November of last year using traditional High Pressure Sodium lights.  In January, the PLA Board voted to switch to LED lamps as it rebuilds the City’s street lighting system and to accelerate the pace of installation with a goal of completing all neighborhoods by the end of 2015.  Work on thoroughfares, which use underground wiring, will be completed by the end of 2016.

Jones said that research had shown that LED lights provide brighter and more cost efficient light and will better serve the Detroit community in coming years.  In addition, the cost of LED lights has been steadily going down, making them more affordable.  He said the LED lights that will be installed in neighborhoods will be the equivalent of 150 watt High Pressure Sodium lights,  more than twice as bright as the 70 watt High Pressure Sodium lights that have been the standard in the past.

About the Public Lighting Authority of Detroit

The PLA was authorized by the Michigan Legislature in December, 2012 and approved by Detroit City Council earlier this year to design and implement a plan to improve Detroit’s public lighting system. The PLA is governed by a five-member board, all Detroit residents, appointed by the Mayor and the City Council.