Streetlight inventory reviewed for the City of Edgerton
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Streetlight inventory reviewed for the City of Edgerton

Aug 27, 2023

Edgerton city officials are reviewing the community’s streetlights as they develop plans to modernize them after a 2022 citizen survey showed residents were dissatisfied with the quality and number of streetlights throughout the city.

Josh Pudlowksi, a project engineer with Olsson, an engineering firm with local offices in Johnson County, presented the study and findings at the Aug. 10 city council meeting.

“This (the survey) will be used as a launchpad for priorities for future projects as we move forward,” he said.

Pudlowski said street lights were the highest priority from the citizen survey. The city has 294 streetlights within its city limits. Of those, 120 residential street lights are 10 to 15 years old and owned by Evergy, but leased to the city. The lighting at Logistics Park and the Homestead Street interchange bridge are owned by the City of Edgerton.

Olsson staff used a collector app to document each fixture with photographs and looked at inventory types of poles and lights, rated them from poor to good.

Pudlowski said the Edgerton-owned lighting at LPKChe said, the Evergy-owned lights in residential areas were in worse shape.

“They tend to be the ones citizens have the most issues with,” he said.

Edgerton Public Works Director Dan Merkh said despite that the Edgerton-owned lighting was currently sufficient, it would be in the city’s best interests to have established lighting standards moving forward. Merkh said the Homestead interchange lighting was a perfect example, explaining that if they were to have any pedestrian conflict in the area, the lights would be out of compliance.

Pudlowski said if a large amount of people started using the Homestead Trail it could raise the need for more lighting.

Mayor Don Roberts said asked what the trigger point would be to require low to medium lighting. Pudlowski said medium-range lighting was what people typically experience in shopping center parking lots, noting some areas in Edgerton were not meeting that level.

Pudlowski said they looked at five different sections for light deficiencies where the lights were brighter in certain areas and dimmer in others.

“That is not what we want to have,” he said.

Pudlowski said officials had high hopes for the newer lights at LPKC, noting those lights met all possible scenarios. But Pudlowski said, he was surprised at the lack of uniformity of the leased lighting throughout the city. Merkh added that West 207th Street and Co-op Road met the minimum lighting requirements, but there was “no uniformity.”

“It is getting closer to be needing to be revisited,” he said.

Pudlowski said the city wants to have uniformity with its street lighting on a street and throughout the city. Edgerton currently paid $45 per city pole for maintenance and operation costs. The lease rate per pole was an additional $233. In all, the city paid more than $33,000.

Pudlowski said it would benefit the city to own and maintain its own street lights, saving the community money in the long run.

Merkh said they could attempt to buy out the system from Evergy for $2,500 to $3,000 per unit.

“Evergy is not doing any more sellouts,” he said. “Right now, they are just saying no and refusing to sell out. They told us three or four times they are not selling.”

Instead, Merkh said they were told by Evergy they could either replace the poles or leave them in the ground.

Pudlowski said he did not know what grounds Evergy had to keep the city from wanting new street lighting in parts of the city and requesting Evergy to remove the lighting.

Pudlowski said it is $18.50 to maintain, but the costs would rise for the city when they near 1,000 fixtures with its current growth rates.

“It might be beneficial and worth looking at to hire staff to maintain your own lights,” he said.

Council member Clay Longanecker said he wanted to know if the wooden poles with lights installed have power lines. Merkh said it depended on what part of town, noting there was probably a good amount requiring some changes.

Roberts said most of the power lines in town were in the alleys with the street lights being on the poles.

“Some may have power lines on them, but not many,” he said.

Roberts said they were more likely to run into more phone and cable lines hanging overhead.

Council member Josh Lewis asked if it was possible for Evergy to update the lights at a lower cost. Pudlowski said this was unlikely since Evergy updated the lights on their poles in 2018.

City administrator Beth Linn said the city’s lease agreement was through franchise, but it currently needed to be updated.

“We are looking at the interest to explore the ability to take over some ownership now and what our options are,” Linn said. “It is the perfect opportunity for us to engage in some different conversations with them.”

Linn said officials recommended city council members purchase the street lights for ownership.

“Even if staff had ownership, we would still have to contact Evergy to maintain and depend on their assistance,” she said.

Longanecker asked how many fixtures were in poor shape. Pudlowski said there were probably five – 10 fixtures.

Linn said when it came to flickering lights they were at the mercy of Evergy. Merkh said they do know they are going to upgrade the Homestead interchange with LED lights.

“It is better to do the whole bridge at one time,” he said. “It is not good to build beforehand.”

Merkh said they would have discussions on projects for other streets.

Roberts asked what would the cost be to the city for them to purchase Evergy’s lights.

Linn said it would be similar to a road replacement project, and they would have to schedule where and when they could replace specific lights.

Roberts said he wanted to know their options from Evergy, and what they city would be able to negotiate as he was unsure if he wanted to buy out Evergy.

Roberts said ultimately he would like to see the power lines buried.

Linn thanked Pudlowski and his help for their help.

“They have been a tremendous asset to us with their expertise,” she said. “It is difficult for us to piece together standards without their help.”