Changes are coming to street lights on Oahu. The city is moving ahead with plans to replace the current lights with new light emitting diodes, or LED's, over the next several years.
The lights are similar to the ones that have been installed as part of the state's H-1 Freeway Rehabilitation Project. The Department of Transportation said any new street lighting projects will use the new LED fixtures.
The city is going a step further. Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to replace all 51,700 lights on city streets with LED's.
"In the coming year and a half, you're going to start to see a difference in the lighting of our city, from a more yellow type of light to a brighter, white light," said Caldwell.
The city has already installed the lights as part of a pilot project in Kahala and a few other neighborhoods on Oahu.
The city council recently approved a budget that includes $80,000 to fund requests for proposals from companies to install the lighting.
"We'd like the city to bear no up front costs, and we estimate that the city will be able to save as much as half of the street lighting bill every single year just by using LED lighting," said City Councilman Stanley Chang.
According to Chang, the city spends $6 million a year on street lighting.
The LED lights also last longer and cause less light pollution, with the brighter light shining down directly onto the roadway. Caldwell said that will increase safety.
"Very sadly, our city has so many pedestrian deaths, particularly with our seniors. And anything we can do to provide brighter light so drivers can see pedestrians in crosswalks is a good thing," he said.
The mayor didn't want to speculate on the total cost, but said the project could be put out to bid by August 2015. He also said some of the money saved by the new lighting will help pay for the installation.