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1. What does the LED replacement work involve? We're updating many of the streetlights in Hamilton with LED lights. They last longer, require less maintenance and use less energy than the old lamps. The work is part of a project to replace around 13,000 lights in Hamilton before December 2018. We aren't replacing or upgrading the poles they sit on, but we're taking the opportunity to do an audit of our city's lights for future improvement work as we go.
2. Why are you changing the lights? The lights use about half of the power of the existing sodium lamps, last three times longer and have a guarantee for 10 years. They are a more sustainable solution for the city and are being rolled out in many parts of the country.
3. Are you doing all the lights? No. Some streets have decorative hanging-type lanterns that we can't easily retrofit and would have quite a different look to them. We may do some of these if they are in the end of a street (for example two decorative lanterns at the end of 20 standard types). If you have concerns about the new look you can contact us. We also won't be doing under-verandah lights in the CBD or any specialised lights such as those on bridges or on artwork etc.
4. How much do the lights cost? The lighting replacement is being done with a Transport Agency subsidy which is significantly higher than usual (85%). The Transport Agency is funding around $4.7 million of the $5.7 million cost of the first two stages of the project. The Council's contribution will pay for itself in the next few years through considerable cost savings in maintenance and power consumption, estimated at around $250,000 annually to Council.As more people switch to LED lighting the cost comes down. The new lanterns are now cheaper than buying the old sodium lanterns. With the NZTA subsidy the price of the supply and installation of the lantern in residential areas is approximately $45-60 each (Council share). Main roads are more expensive due to the size of the lantern.
5. When will it happen and how long will it take? Work is due to start in December 2017 and finish on the 30th December 2018. There is a map on our website www.hamilton.govt.nz/ledlights that details the suburb order we are doing. Local roads will be done first, with arterial roads starting from June 2018. Waikato District Council are also changing their lights at the same time.
6. Who is doing the work? The Councils partner Infrastructure Alliance is carrying out the procurement and installation of the lights. Collaborative working agreement.
7. Do I have to do anything special or will you block my driveway? We expect little disruption for residents and motorists. Installation takes around half an hour per light and most residents probably won't notice the work in their street until after the new lights are up. We may need to do some minor trimming of your trees should they be blocking the street light out in the road area. We may also ask you to have this undertaken. We will be working both at night and during the day and when we get to main roads there maybe a slight delay to traffic if we need to use part of the traffic lane for our trucks.
8. What notification will you give me?Council have publicised this through media and our City News publication as well as on our website and through social media. You will also get a postcard/flyer put in your letter box after the work has occurred outside your house
9. The light looks different?We have maximised the lighting in your street by using a slightly higher-powered LED light than is usual. If the light is too bright or too dull we would need to compare your street with our designs and NZ standards and we maybe be able to dim or tilt the light to a slightly lower setting This may not be possible or could take us some time to carry this out so please be patient. There is a difference in the colour and focus of the new lights and in some other areas of the country there has been a perception that the LED lights are not as bright. Testing shows the light levels are at least as good as previously but with less of a diffused glow. We have looked at the best options for Hamilton and are using specific lighting designs, a higher-specification lamp and a 'warm white' light colour where appropriate for a softer look and feel.
10. Did you consider environmental impacts of the LED lights?
We gave careful consideration to the type and colour of the new lights as there is increasing evidence that white light at night can have an environmental effect on insects and bats, while also having the potential to affect the day/night cycles of mammals, called the 'circadian rhythm'. The 'warm white' colour of the LED light we selected, which looks slightly yellow in colour, has a lower environmental impact. We also wanted to reduce pollutant light and are working with the Hamilton Astronomical Society on ways to achieve this in the area around the Hamilton Observatory by the zoo.
11. What if the light outside my house is not working - when will you come and fix it? If you're the next suburb on the upgrade list (see the map) then it's likely we will wait to replace it when we are in your area. If its flickering or you believe it's a safety issue then we will aim to repair your light within our normal timelines.It's likely if we do repair it we will replace it with one of the new LED lights. This means it may look a bit different to the other lights in your street and may change or alter the light spread along the street When we do come to your area it will match in with the new lights and hopefully we won't have to adjust or alter it further.
12. What can I do if I am still not happy about the new lights?You could speak to the Infrastructure Alliance Directly through ringing Hamilton City Council on 8386699.