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Overland Park approves plan to convert all streetlights to LED

LED streetlight overland park.jpg
Posted at 8:05 AM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 09:05:50-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The main thoroughfares in Overland Park, Kansas, will soon be brighter at night and more energy efficient.

The city council voted Monday night to move forward with a plan to convert all streetlights to accommodate LED bulbs.

The city spent the past four years working on a pilot program where it converted roughly half of its streetlights to LED, mostly in residential streets.

The city said the switch within the pilot program saves it about $150,000 annually in energy costs. The bulbs also cost less to maintain.

Monday, leaders approved hiring a firm to contract the conversion. The $5.3 million proposal means all remaining streetlights will use LED bulbs within one year. The city’s traffic engineer said if the city did the conversion itself, it would take several years.

“We wanted to recognize the savings potential a little quicker,” explained Brian Shields, the traffic engineer. “I’m sure Evergy will be increasing energy rates from time to time, so that will kind of get eaten up here and there, but if you don’t start now, you’re never gonna start and start saving money.”

Shields predicts Overland Park will save about $400,000 annually in electric and maintenance costs once the conversion is complete.

Wednesday, the Public Works Department in Kansas City, Missouri, is scheduled to update a committee of city council members on its plans to convert roughly 90,000 streetlights to LED.

Over the past several years, multiple cities in the metropolitan area have made the switch.

LED bulbs last longer, reduce electric bills and emit more light than standard high-pressure sodium bulbs most streetlights use. The public works director of Prairie Village, Kansas, said the city hasn’t had any issues since converting to LED in 2016 and it saves roughly $40,000 in costs annually.

The American Medical Association did issue guidance for cities using LED streetlights noting the lights might cause more glare on the windshields of drivers and could disrupt sleeping habits if the brighter lights are near bedroom windows.