Detroit Begins 3-Year Project to Repair Street Lights

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With nearly half of the street lights not working in two Detroit neighborhoods, the Public Lighting Authority has launched the first phase of two pilot projects to restore the lights in the next three years.

In the city’s more established neighborhoods in Boston-Edison and Indian Village, new street lights have been installed in recent years, though the Public Lighting Authority has had trouble maintaining the lights due to a lack of sensors brought on by the municipality’s financial struggles.

“Before we could develop a plan to renovate the city’s street lights, it was critical that we have accurate, up-to-date information on the system as it exists today,” said Odis Jones, executive director of the authority. “Since the most current data was 15 years old, that made it necessary to go out and survey the condition of every single light.

The authority surveyed nearly 5,000 lights and found nearly 45 percent did not work throughout an eastside demonstration project — bounded by Eight Mile, Kelly Road, Hoover, and Houston Whittier — and a west side project — bounded by McNichols, Southfield Road, Fenkell, and Telegraph, with a small extension in the Five Points area of the city south of McNichols and west of Telegraph.

Construction and installation of the new lights will begin early next month. Once the lights in these two areas are restored, the authority will expand its work to other parts of the city.

Jones says information from the review will be used to design new street lighting for both areas. “The survey has provided us with specific information about the condition of every single street light in both project areas. This will enable us to design the best lighting plan for each area as we move forward to give the citizens of Detroit the lighting they deserve,” he says. 

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