BERLIN — Things may be looking blue in Berlin from streetlight conversion, as town officials are currently replacing the former yellow bulbs with a more modern style.
Beginning several weeks ago, replacement bulbs for streetlights started slowly spreading across town, with many sections of Berlin partially or entirely retrofitted already.
“They’re maintenance free for 10 years,” said Line Operations Superintendent Augie Weinhold of the new lights. “We shouldn’t even need to change the bulbs.”
The new 70 watt induction bulbs, which give off a whitish blue glow, are an upgrade from the town’s old 55 watt low pressure sodium bulbs, according to Weinhold.
“You don’t see too many towns that have those kinds of lights,” he said of the old sodium bulbs, which emit a stark yellow-orange radiance, which Weinhold noted was much harsher than the new blues.
He explained that the town council wanted to get away from an “amber burn” and look into softer lighting. So far several streets in town have been refitted with the induction lights. Large portions of Flower, Grice, Jefferson, and Washington streets have been converted.
“We have three quarters of the ones on Washington St. completed,” said Weinhold.
Sections of North Main St. have also made the change and Weinhold expects the rest of the street to be addressed in the near future.
All in all, nearly 300 new lights have been purchased — 272 70-watt induction lights as well as 18 special 80-watt lights. Weinhold explained that the more powerful 80 watt bulbs will be used to light up intersections.
According to Mayor Gee Williams, the goal is to replace every street light in town.
“The money is already budgeted for that conversion,” he said. “I know we have committed to having them all replaced.”
The continued streetlight conversion is one of several pieces of electric-related good news in Berlin this week which also included approval to attempt to lower non-residential rates and the signing of a power purchasing agreement.
According to Weinhold, besides being much easier to maintain than the old amber lights, the new bulbs will also be more cost efficient. And, he reiterated, there is that noticeable difference in aesthetics between soft blue and hard yellow.