New street lights a big hit here

Published 1:32 pm Thursday, August 21, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- When it comes to street lights, there's nothing like pretty, ornamental ones.
And that's pretty apparent between 13th and 17th streets on Oak Street in Niles following the completion of an $85,000 lighting improvement project undertaken by the City of Niles Utility Department.
The roadway lighting improvement project, which was started in the fall of 2002 following completion of the roadway improvement of Oak Street, was finished in early summer this year.
Lehmkuhl said with the new ornamental street lights there are no longer any overhead wires because everything is wired underground. That is likely to prevent the streets light from going out during bad storms and will save the city work and the costs of repairing damaged power lines.
The light source has also changed from mercury vapor to high-pressure sodium, Lehmkuhl said.
Lehmkuhl said the result of the street light project has become aesthetically pleasing to one of the city's major arteries.
He said approximately 40 percent of the cost of the project can be attributed to the light poles and luminaries, which cost $1,400 each. Another $12,000 was paid to push pipe underground for the containment of the cable, he said
Lehmkuhl said he has received many positive comments from the public since the new street lights were installed.
Lehmkuhl said even people in his own department, who initially thought the strong glow from the new street lights could become a problem, are convinced of the benefits of the new street lights.
Roger Barnes, a utilities department employee, was out by the new street lights on Oak Street recently with fellow workers Daniel Moore and Randy Stevens.
But putting the new street lights in was hard work.
First, winter and freezing conditions prevented the project from being finished until early summer.
Secondly, the workers had to fight against a large web of tree roots under the surface where the new street lights were to be erected.