Milwaukee street lighting improvements; $10M in ARPA funds being used

The City of Milwaukee maintains and operates approximately 79,000 street and alley lights right now.  But approximately one-third of that street lighting system has outdated circuitry -- which means it is less reliable and could leave many neighborhoods dark. That is about to change, officials say. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Alderman Scott Spiker announced on Wednesday, Nov. 24 that approximately $10 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will be spent to modernize 13 of the most troublesome street lighting circuits. 

"City street lights, through age and design, are vulnerable to outages. I think we all recognize that," Barrett said. "The work ahead will make lighting more reliable and efficient."

"With this $10 million, we can get at the worst of the worst of our street lighting circuits," said Alderman Scott Spiker. 

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DPW Commissioner Jeff Polenske said the ARPA money will accelerate the effort to replace these aging circuits – and during this upgrade, the city will also be upgrading high-pressure sodium lamp street lights to LED lamp streetlights.

"The LEDs are more efficient. They use 70% less power than the HPS lamps -- and when the circuitry and LED upgrades are completed, the estimated energy savings throughout the city could be in the range of $3 million annually," Polenske said.

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