CDOT progresses to more than 18,000 street lights replaced with LEDs

Continuing forward on a plan to modernize 270,000 lights throughout Chicago with LEDs, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has, as of last week, reached 18,000 street lights replaced on the south and west sides.

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With this milestone reached, the Chicago Smart Lighting Program is now expanding to include residential streets. That effort will begin on the city’s west side, swapping in the new bulbs in place of outdated high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights. Thus far, the focus has been on arterial routes, but once the west side’s residential streets are concluded as well, replacement efforts will shift south. Targeted repairs to poles and wiring will also be rolled into this project. Overall, it is expected to generate cost savings for the city that will offset those of the modernization effort.

“This project demonstrates how the expertise of the [Chicago Infrastructure Trust] CIT can be leveraged to make infrastructure investments that provide a maximum return for City residents and improve the quality of life in Chicago’s neighborhoods,” Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers said. “Through modernizing our infrastructure, the city will save money over the long term by lowering energy costs, vastly improving the lighting on our streets and alleys, and making our neighborhoods safer. We look forward to continuing our work on initiatives that will create equitable economic development in our neighborhoods in the years to come.”

The new system also comes with a component to guarantee any one facet of it is never down for long. Though the “smart” system, the city will automatically be notified when one of its lights need to be serviced.

“The Chicago Smart Lighting Program is off to a great start, delivering modern, reliable, energy-efficient lighting that is already improving quality of life in Chicago neighborhoods,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “The new state-of-the-art smart lighting management system will automatically notify us when lights need to be serviced, addressing one of the top reasons people call 311.”

While the program and lights are run by the City of Chicago, replacement efforts are being conducted in partnership with Ameresco, Inc.