The City of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Utilities are partnering to convert almost 75 percent of the city’s aging overhead streetlights to energy-efficient LED technology. Work on the conversion began this week in Southeast Tacoma and continue northward. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
There are more than 22,000 streetlights in Tacoma. The project team estimates it will convert about 16,000 streetlights to LED lights, and convert most of the remaining fixtures in future years. Existing streetlights have a life expectancy of three to five years, while an LED fixture’s anticipated lifecycle is 15 to 20 years before maintenance is required. LED technology improves street lighting quality and is easier to control up-lighting, glare and backlighting which will help eliminate nighttime light pollution.
During the summer, the city typically receives about 200 streetlight repair requests each month. That number increases to about 400 during the winter months as the days get shorter, which can quickly create a backlog of almost three months during this busy season. Because of the life expectancy and the number of outages, the city’s typical response time will be drastically reduced once the conversion is complete.
The city will continue to own and maintain poles, and replace the LED fixtures as needed. Tacoma Power selected the contractor for LED installation and will also purchase and own the LED light fixtures and provide replacement fixtures to the city as needed.
Residents can check when their streetlights will be upgraded through an interactive map located at cityoftacoma.org/LEDStreetlights. The schedule will continue to be updated and refined as the project progresses. Questions and comments can be submitted at MyTPU.org/Streetlights.