Streetlight Modernization Projects Double Under Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Works Infrastructure Plan

August 25, 2021

CDOT Expects to Install Completely New Lighting Infrastructure On Almost 280 Blocks in 2021; More Than Double Previous Years

Mike Claffey    312.744.0707 |

Susan Hofer    312.742.2006 |

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced it is more than doubling the number of blocks in which it is completely replacing streetlight poles and wiring this year, thanks to increased funding from Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Works infrastructure and jobs plan. CDOT is on track for a 100 percent increase in streetlight modernization projects, 279 blocks in 2021, up from an average of 135 blocks in recent years.   

As CDOT concludes the Chicago Smart Lighting Program (CSLP), a massive 4-year LED streetlight conversion project, the focus now shifts to replacing the underlying lighting infrastructure that is in the worse shape. The CSLP also created a city-wide wireless lighting management network, one of the largest in the country, that will gives CDOT current data on light outages and frequent circuit failures. 

“Streetlights are essential part of every neighborhood and Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Works capital plan has prioritized investments in new poles and wiring,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “At the same time that we are switching to energy efficient LED lights and creating a smart lighting system, we are also investing in new poles and wiring that will make our streetlight system more reliable and sustainable for the long term.”  

The Mayor’s Chicago Works plan includes $112 million for streetlight modernization projects in 2021 and 2022.  CDOT expects to install new poles and wiring on 175 residential blocks and on more than 100 blocks on arterial streets.   

Traditionally, new streetlight poles on residential blocks have been funded through the Aldermanic Menu program. Under the Chicago Works plan, CDOT is using data to prioritize the replacement of poles that are rated in substandard condition.  

While the City is modernizing its lighting infrastructure, it is also reducing the cost of the system by switching to lights that use half the electricity and last two to three times longer. The CSLP, has reduced streetlight electricity costs by more than half; utility cost savings are on track to save $100 million over 10 years.  The CSLP project has qualified the City to receive over $34 million in ComEd energy efficiency rebates. 

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