Neighborhoods next in line for new LED lights

Published 6:22 pm Saturday, July 8, 2017

A project to light up Selma’s streets more at night is making progress.

Mayor Darrio Melton said Friday new LED lights have been put up by Alabama Power on major thoroughfares in Selma, which includes Broad Street, Dallas Avenue, Highland Avenue and Medical Center Parkway.

“The streets are brighter than they have ever been before,” Melton said. “We’re really excited about it.”

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Now that the new LED lights have been installed on the major roads, Melton said Alabama Power is moving into the neighborhoods to replace those lights next. Melton said the power company has started in ward six.

“Each neighborhood is different, so Alabama Power is doing a few pilots on a few streets to see what lighting works best for those different streets,” he said. “Right now, they’re actually in Ward 6 trying to do a few pilots with the lights, and once they figure out exactly which one is going to be more feasible, they’re going to move forward installing through the neighborhoods.”

Melton said the lights on major roadways were installed pretty quickly, so once the right lights are found, it shouldn’t take long for them to be put up.

“Once they start putting them up, they put them up quickly. It’s just a matter of determining what type of lights they need to put in those particular areas,” he said.

The lighting plan will include the entire city, so each ward should see new LED lighting, which brightens up the streets and sidewalks.

“I know there will be some concern about residences and lights in people’s yards, but that’s not the purpose of city lights,” Melton said. “It’s to light the streets and the sidewalks, not to light up front yards, back yards and sides of homes.”

Melton said lighting was one of the issues he wanted to work on when he took office.

“It’s very significant for us seeing that we came in with infrastructure being a major focus of this administration,” he said. “Lights are a part of infrastructure, and so to know that’s part of addressing the infrastructure issue, we’re excited to know that’s one issue we can check off.”

While the new lights haven’t been up long, Melton said they have already received plenty of compliments.

“I’ve actually gotten pulled over driving down the street from people excited about the brightness of the lights,” Melton laughed. “We’ve gotten a whole lot of comments about that, and hopefully once we get into the neighborhoods people will see the impact in the neighborhoods and there will be even more comments.”

The Selma City Council voted in April to approve the project, and since then Alabama Power has been working on the plan and putting it into action.

The lights are owned by Alabama Power, so the city does not have to pay for the fixtures to be upgraded. Alabama Power told the city before the contract was voted on that they would work to keep their rate they pay for lighting the same.

Melton said the city could end up saving money because some lighting may need to be taken down due to the brightness of the LEDs.