Lincoln’s purple streetlights are about to be replaced

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – What’s with those purple streetlights in Lincoln, and what is the city doing to fix them?

It’s an issue that many Lincoln residents and visitors have had questions about for over a year now.

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Transportation and Utilities Director Liz Elliott announced that the city will be replacing the purple lights in the next several months.

Gaylor Baird said Lincoln isn’t the only city that has seen purple streetlights popping up.

“This problem is not unique to Lincoln,” Gaylor Baird said. “Lincoln is, in fact, one of dozens of cities across the country that are experiencing this same issue.”

Lincoln had over 26,000 LED lights installed during the LED Streetlight Conversion Project, which was completed in 2019.

Since then, over 1,500 of those lights have malfunctioned, turning from white to purple.

The city said taxpayers will not have to pay anything for the replacement, including the labor costs.

The manufacturer will be covering the bill.

Officials said they didn’t fix them earlier because they didn’t have the resources, but now they have the lights and crews ready to go.

About 40% of the defective lights have already been replaced, according to LTU.

When Channel 8 spoke to residents of Lincoln, they had mixed emotions about the lights.

“Just keep them; they don’t bother me,” Bethany Colson said.

Rodney Triplett was also indifferent about the colored lights.

“It really doesn’t make any difference to me one way or the other,” he said. “So if they want to change them out, cool.”

Some people had more positive things to say about the purple LEDs.

“There’s actually some right next to my apartment that were just put up,” Bryce Ashburn said. “I like them around my place. It just makes the area feel more chill. It’s not as bright.”

But one resident was worried that the city will find itself in a never-ending cycle of having to replace the lights.

“Five years from now, are they still going to be turning blue?” Paul Frink asked. “Because I know they cost quite a bit more, so they’ve got to last a long time to pay them off. Are we going to get a payoff? Or is it going to be a cost?”

Gaylor Baird said the LED lights save the city around $340,000 in energy costs every year compared with the previous streetlights. They also last 10 to 15 years longer, she said.

The city said there is no safety concern for drivers, but it wants to make sure the community gets what it paid for.

“Now, together with our partners, we are ready to finish the job, and when we do, Lincoln will have a literally brighter future,” Gaylor Baird said.

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