City moves ahead with plan to convert streetlights to LED

City moves ahead with plan to convert streetlights to LED

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nine months ago, the city abruptly tabled its plan to convert Oahu's street lights to more environmentally-friendly LEDs because of contract issues.

Now, it's moving forward with the project to replace some 53,500 sodium lights.

Robert Kroning, director of the city Department of Design and Construction, said he thinks residents will notice a significant improvement when LEDs light up the night.

"I believe you can see better," he said.

Kroning estimates it will cost from $40 million to $60 million to swap out the lights.

And he thinks the delay benefited the city because the latest LED product is better than what the city looked at last year.

Kroning said the newer LEDs are more environmentally-friendly and pleasing to the naked eye.

"Our lights are going to be shielded to prevent the glare. They are very directional," he added.

But some are concerned about the plan.

The American Medical Association claims some LED street lamps worsen night glare, compared to more conventional lighting, because they emit a high degree of blue light that can decrease visual acuity and create road hazards.

Ophthalmologist Tyrie Jenkins said the city needs to heed AMA suggestions and install LEDs that are "cool and dim."

"Go to the lower amounts of blue, And also have the lights be dimmable so maybe during non-peak times you can turn them down," she said.

Kroning said the city will do both. The LED lamps will have a lower color temperature and give off less blue light, plus the new LEDs will be adjustable.

"We are requiring a networked control management system of the lights. That will allow us to adjust the lighting at different times of the day," Kroning said.

The conversion project guidelines specify a 50 percent savings to the city in energy costs. Kroning believes it will be closer to 60 to 70 percent

"The most important thing is the safety of the roadway, and that's for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists," he said.

The city expects to award the contract in January and work to start in June. Kroning said the conversion should be complete by the end of 2019.

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