HAVERHILL — They’re expensive and they’re a safety hazard.
So it’s time to get rid of them.
Road salt and moisture have been eating away at the metal bases of antique-style lamp posts along downtown Merrimack Street.
The erosion has caused four posts to topple over. City officials worried that other posts would continue to rot and fall over, possibly hurting passersby.
The city has begun replacing the 27 lamp posts with fixtures that are safer and use less electricity.
The old posts are topped by faded globes surrounding high pressure sodium lamps. The new posts are topped with crystal clear acrylic globes containing energy efficient LEDs.
City officials said the new lights will cost about half of what the old ones did to operate, while the new posts will end the possibility of pedestrians or drivers being injured by a corroded lamp post falling over.
Work began last week on the $200,000 light replacement project and is expected to be completed in two weeks. About half the cost of the project is being paid though a federal energy grant received by the city, while the other half is from federal Community Development Block Grant funds.
Workers with Brite Lite & Electric of Weymouth have been working on Merrimack Street to remove the old lamp posts.
Mayor James Fiorentini said the corroded bases of the lamp posts posed a public safety hazard. Four of them have already toppled over, he said. All 27 posts along Merrimack Street will be replaced, he said.
DPW Director Michael Stankovich said the city previously replaced 50 high-pressure sodium bulbs in similar style lamp posts along downtown Washington and Wingate streets with LEDs. He said that project was also paid for through the federal energy efficiency grant the city received, which was was part of the federal stimulus program. He said the grants helped communities across the nation reduce their energy use.
“The LEDs will last 20 years and we’re improving safety for residents and motorists as well,” Stankovich said about the new lamp posts and lights.