Benton City is one of six small towns chosen by the state's Transportation Improvement Board to take part in the project.
BENTON CITY, Wash. - NBC Right Now is shedding some light on a statewide study to determine the benefits of LED street lights. Benton City is one of six small towns chosen by the state's Transportation Improvement Board to take part in the project.
Bigger cities have adopted LED street lights but smaller towns aren't often able to afford the changeover. Luckily for Benton City, the Transportation Improvement Board will be picking up the tab and using their new lights to test a cost-saving theory.
"TIB walked into the front door one day and said does Benton city want to take part in this. The city council all went ahead and approved it and now we are here," said Benton City Mayor Lloyd Carnahan.
The Transportation Improvement Board conducted their feasibility study earlier this year. They looked at the cost of changing all the street lights, the problems associated with that and interagency barriers.
Benton City street lights are a mixture of Benton PUD, Benton REA and city owned fixtures.
"When we screened the cities, initially, one of the things we did was find out if the owner/operator was interested in working with us on the project and Benton pud was very happy to work with us on the project," said Transportation Improvement Board Executive Director Steve Gorcester.
"Cooperation of PUD and REA is marvelous. They're working together with us. PUD will store the new fixtures and more or less the old fixtures until the project is done and then we will have to discard the old ones and put the new ones up," said Carnahan.
The installation of the LED lights will likely begin next year.
"What we're trying to do is figure out if we replace their streetlights, can we deliver savings to them on their operating cost, essentially immediately," said Gorcester.
"I think it's a great honor. I think it's marvelous that we're being one of the pilot programs and we'll be able to maybe explain to other people some of our headaches after it gets installed or program benefits," said Carnahan.
TIB's interest stems from the fact that they are the primary source of funding for small town street maintenance. If this pilot study is successful, they'll extend the program to all 165 small towns in the state. Findings should be released about a year after the lights are installed.