Lighting the way

A local public works project will positively impact the safety of Camas citizens, the environment, and the city budget.

According to a story in today’s edition of the Post-Record, this year Camas will embark on a $2.4 million lighting replacement project that will transition every city street light — 3,100 to be exact — from traditional light bulbs to light-emitting diode lights.

LED lights are highly energy-efficient, so they don’t have to be replaced as often as traditional fluorescent light bulbs. This results in a return on investment in the form of reduced maintenance and energy costs to the city.

With limited staffing, the amount of maintenance necessary to keep all of the city’s street lights up and running has become an issue.

Due to a backlog of street lights out, the city in early December had to post a notice on its website asking citizens to be patient as street department employees struggled to keep up with demand. Street lights that are not properly functioning have the potential to create hazards for vehicles and pedestrians.

In addition, according to Clark Public Utilities, because LED lights direct light downward, they illuminate the ground more uniformly than high-pressure sodium lamps, improving safety and light efficiency.

Making this project even more appealing is the fact that the city will receive a $257,000 incentive from Clark Public Utilities, in addition to a $500,000 grant from the Department of Commerce. The city will pay for the remaining cost over time using its energy savings.

Even with the grant funding, this is no doubt a very expensive endeavor for the city, but it is one that makes a whole lot of sense because it will provide benefits to citizens on so many different levels.