Seattle City Light is scheduled to start work Monday, June 21, to replace 71 streetlights and the deteriorating underground electric cables that power them in the Washington Park Arboretum.
The project is divided into three phases. Phase one will replace 29 lights from the Broadmoor gate entrance to a point 500 feet south of the pedestrian bridge on Lake Washington Boulevard. Project leaders expect to finish in October. Phase two and three in 2011 and 2012 will continue the work south on Lake Washington Boulevard, replacing 49 streetlights.
City Light will use energy efficient LED streetlights for the arboretum project. The LEDs will provide a white light that is comparable to moonlight. This eliminates much of the color distortion created by existing high-pressure sodium lights, improves peripheral vision and enhances depth of field. In short, it will be easier to see while driving or walking in the area at night. LEDs also will use at least 40 percent less energy and last three times longer, saving the city money over their lifespan.
Reliability of the streetlights will be enhanced further by work being done for the underground power supply. The old cable was buried directly into the ground, exposing it to changing soil conditions that lead to deterioration and interruptions in service. The new cable will be installed in conduit, providing extra protection and longer service life.
City Light will avoid blocking Lake Washington Boulevard as much as possible during the project and work in a way that minimizes impacts during peak commuting hours, but drivers should expect traffic backups. A flagger will direct traffic to one lane when work is underway.
Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.