Gizmo should hide his eyes. Eastern Nebraska nights are about to get too bright for a gremlin.
The Omaha Public Power District took the next step this week in its five-year plan to replace almost 100,000 yellow-toned sodium streetlights with whiter, brighter, more energy-efficient LED light fixtures.
They`re swapping lights to save energy, cut OPPD`s maintenance costs and save money for
the cities and towns that pay the district for streetlights.
On Thursday, the OPPD board approved the first year of a potential five-year, $2.4 million contract with Omaha-based Superior Lighting Inc. to replace about half of the 13-county area`s high-pressure sodium streetlights.
OPPD officials say they plan use the utility`s own crews and other contractors it already uses to replace the rest, mainly by responding when people report a streetlight out or employees notice outages.
[Contractors have been doing this basic maintenance for us for the last few years to get the lights fixed as quickly as we can," said Steve Fanslau, OPPD`s director of customer service, government and infrastructure.
The utility`s goal is to replace between 17,000 and 20,000 lights a year for five years.
Some light fixtures with unusual shapes, including those near Midtown Crossing and Lauritzen Gardens, may take more time, OPPD says.
next month, is replacing about 7,000 streetlights along major thoroughfares. Think 72nd Street, Pacific Street and Cornhusker Road, OPPD says.
Work on arterial streets requires larger crews than side streets, with at least one person in a blocker truck and one other doing the work, said Todd McLochlin, manager of utilities and right of way coordination for OPPD.
If things go well, OPPD has the option to expand Superior Lighting`s work onto side streets.
OPPD expects to spend about $39 million replacing streetlights regionwide, including equipment and labor costs.
The utility expects the new LED lights to last 15 to 20 years instead of the 5 years traditional lights last.
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