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Cost savings or living up to a contract?
Sun December 8, 2013
Eagle River, Town of Lincoln, DOT Battle Over Street Lights
City officials in Eagle River and the Vilas county town of Lincoln are upset with the Department of Transportation about lighting along highways. The state says it's a matter of keeping past agreements and safety.
In Eagle River, in city areas officials think are "over lit" they have turned off 27 lights. A couple of lights were turned back on after people complained. But local governments would like to save more money by turning off some of the lights along the state-maintained roadways.
City Administrator Joe Laux says the DOT has strongly resisted turning the lights off along Highway 45....
"....we're saying, hey, everywhere else we're trying to reduce costs, we've found ways to reduce costs. We want to reduce the amount of money we're spending on lights on these state highways and we want you to work with us cooperatively. Well, they haven't done anything...."
Laux says since summer meetings, the DOT has not talked to the city about a way to reduce the number of lights. He says the city is waiting for a solution.
But DOT spokesperson Matt Bronson says the state, city and town had agreements dating back to 2002 to maintain the lights along the main thoroughfare...
"....we had state and federal funding agreements to install the street lighting in exchange both the town and city would maintain those lighting systems from there on out. We have considerable taxpayer money into that..."
Bronson says shutting off every other light as proposed would cause a visual problem for drivers and is a safety issue. Bronson says one solution might be the installation of LED lighting.
Laux says they could save about $35,000 dollars a year if they could turn off some of the lights on roads governed by the DOT.