How to Maintain the Street Lights

Street light maintenance practices and proceduresA city must be prepared to take all the measures to create a lively, safe and sustainable spaces. Besides procurement of new products and initiating new projects to make the city better it is equally important to have a maintenance plan in place. The maintenance plan will ensure that the right actions are taken in a timely manner. A maintenance plan is also essential in ensuring the sustenance and long term success of the projects initiated by the city or the government.

Besides roads and walkways, lighting is a key aspect of city development. Lighting provides a safe, crime-free and economically viable spaces for the city. They add to the night-time atmosphere by highlighting buildings and monuments, improving wayfinding, improving accessibility and creating safe spaces in the city for interaction and engagement. Lighting is a capital heavy investment made by the city and must be managed with care after the installation is done. It is important for the city to create well-developed and articulate maintenance plans for lighting and light-scaping.

In this blog post we will discuss the intricacies of managing and maintaining streetlights.

Planning for lighting

Before one actions out a project for new lamp posts or replacing streetlights, it is important to create a good plan. As investing in street lighting for a city or even an area is a large-scale project for the city. It is essential to plan the project well and also understand the economic impact on the city for a project of this scale.

In our previous post we recommended a clear five step process plan for this:

  • Prepare (develop a business case or financial and technical feasibility analysis)
  • Fund (through internal and/or external sources, including financing options)
  • Define (develop the Project Plan, Design Plan, and Communication Plans)
  • Procure (purchase the materials, the installers and the project managers)
  • Manage (ongoing oversight, liaison with key stakeholders, reporting and ensuring electricity and maintenance savings are flowing through to councils)

Factoring Maintenance during the Design and Execution Phase

Choose between LED and HPS street lightsThere are many items and actions that can be included in the design phase itself. Assessing factors like the city’s staffing capabilities, power availability, areas of high density and others can be extremely effective in planning and choosing design schemes that will work best for the city.

Materials chosen

While in some situations it might be cheaper to choose Sodium Lamps. If there are a long term plan and a larger budget, the city can consider LED Lights as well.

“The projected lifetime of LED street lights is usually 10 to 15 years, two to four times the life of currently prevalent HPS. (LEDs themselves do not generally fail or “burn out” in a way comparable to other technologies, and barring catastrophic failure of other mechanical or electronic components of the LED fixture, lifetimes are typically set by a decrease in luminous output of 30%. But the functional lifetime of a LED fixture is limited by the weakest link; associated drive electronics are typically projected to last about 50,000 hrs. If realized in practice, the less frequent need to service or replace LEDs will mean lower maintenance cost.”

Performance and Warranty

Performance and warranty for the street lights can reduce the long-term maintenance costs of the cityDuring the design and procurement stage factors of product, performance can be built into the contract. This will ensure that quality products are used. This ensures that the contractor acts responsibly and provides the appropriate products for the capital amount being invested by the city. This will also reduce the long-term maintenance costs of the city.

It is also important to incorporate a water-tight warranty for the street lights. Typically the city can negotiate a one or two year warranty period. During this period the city will be guaranteed replacement against defects in workmanship, failure, malfunction of materials and/or equipment.

Response Repairs

Street light outages include re-lamping, replacement of parts, or upgrades if parts are unavailable. Response to outage reports involves troubleshooting problems in the power distribution system, photocell replacement, and contactor repair or replacement. Outage reports come from citizens, police, as well as Transportation crews and inspectors.

Physical damage includes knockdowns of street lights or controllers and unintentional damage from dig-ups of the distribution conduits. Repairs may take minutes or days depending on the extent of the damage.

Preventative Maintenance

Take preventative measures to counteract potential problemsPreventive measures include structural inspections, electrical testing and checking, cleaning and changing lamps. To make sure that street lamps are maintained properly, preventive measures like re-lamping can be carried out. Re-lamping high-pressure sodium street lights occur on a four or five-year cycle or as outage frequency dictates. Re-lamping of street lights often involves extensive traffic control, lane and ramp closures, or off-hour shifts to work around light rail trains. Re-lamping is not required for LED street lights.

Report a streetlight

In Australia, the citizens can easily and conveniently report streetlight defects, damages or outages. The Ausgrid website offers a simple way to report any faulty streetlights. Just by entering the pole number or finding the location on the map, you can quickly report any faults.

If you are unsure when it is appropriate to report a streetlight, the list below will give you some basic guidelines for this:

  • Lights not working or flickering
  • Lights left on during the day
  • Lights left off at night or with incorrect timings
  • Damaged lights – particularly if it is causing a safety hazard
  • Electric pole with street light knocked over
  • Nuisance caused by positioning of light
  • Lights being obscured by trees
  • Dim or outdated lighting
  • A need for stronger or additional lights

Corrective Measures

Take corrective measures to reduce future maintenance of the street lightsIf there is serious damage to the street lights or poles, corrective measures must be taken. Street lights are refurbished by salvaging used or damaged street lighting equipment. Component parts are repaired or replaced, and fixtures are upgraded or modified to reduce future maintenance. Using recycled parts saves thousands of dollars over the cost of new materials.

The city must stock parts and lamps for all the different types of fixtures and poles installed around the city.

Lamp post replacement

When a lamp post is due to be replaced (whether it is damaged or has come to the end of its natural life), it will be removed once the electricity supply has been disconnected by the energy supplier.

Recycling street lighting material

All used lanterns and steel or cast iron lamp posts must be recycled as per the correct norms of the area. Concrete lamp posts are crushed and reused as sub-base materials for highways. Lamps and other electronic equipment are disposed of in line with waste electrical and electronic equipment regulations.

Upgrades and Modifications

Many cities are converting high-pressure sodium fixtures to LEDs, which produce more light with less energy and are more reliable.

The city can also consider upgrading the system controller by replacing obsolete controlling methods with magnetic contactors and solid-state equipment, greatly reducing system outages.

Other factors of maintenance

The city may also consider the relocation of poles and fixtures to accommodate the construction of new buildings or roadways. The relocation can also be due to repairs and upgrades to underground electrical utility ducts, communications conduits, and gas company pipelines by construction and utility companies. On occasion, maintenance of street lights can be carried out in parallel with other development, maintenance or improvement projects in the area to save on city funds and additional costs.
Click here to get the leading suppliers of street lights in Australia



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