Portage City Hall

Portage City Hall

Tony V. Martin, The Times

PORTAGE — The city may be a little late to the dance switching over from traditional streetlights to LED lighting.

But, officials said, it has been a benefit in the long run.

Colin Highlands, project manager and redevelopment administrator, said that while some communities have already switched over to the new lighting system, some have had problems, such as the lights being too bright.

Highlands told the Board of Works Tuesday that Portage is taking advantage of that experience and of studies completed by the Department of Energy to pick out just the right lighting system as it begins the switch.

The board authorized Highlands to seek quotes to replace the 97 light fixtures on Willowcreek Road between U.S. 6 and U.S. 20 with LED lights.

The LED lighting, he said, will offer better quality with lower maintenance costs. Highlands said they will seek a system to provide better lighting, but blend into neighborhoods.

Highlands said the budget estimate for the project is $50,000 for lights and labor to install them. The present poles will continue to be used.

The city's redevelopment commission is also making the move to the new lights, seeking quotes to change out fixtures on 37 streetlights in the AmeriPlex at the Port business park. Highlands said it cost the commission $3,600 last year in electricity for those lights and that the payback period for the new lighting will be 2.9 years.

Once lights are replaced on Willowcreek Road, plans call for systematically changing the streetlights throughout the city.

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Porter County reporter

Joyce has been a staff writer for The Times for more than 20 years. She is the municipal and education reporter for Porter County. She is an amateur genealogist and writes a blog, Remember your Roots, appearing online each Thursday.