Honolulu's LED street light project kicks off

Starting March 12, 2018, the City and County of Honolulu will begin replacing tens of thousands of light bulbs in street lamps across the island to put in more energy-efficient LED lights.

KHON2 spoke with community leaders who told us they welcome brighter bulbs, but a local environmental group also said the lights take away from Hawaii's beauty.

Street lights across Oahu will soon be burning much brighter once they're converted to new LED lights.

More than 53,500 lights will be changed. 

Once finished, the city estimates it'll be using 60 percent less energy to light the way for residents and visitors by December 2019.

Waikiki Neighborhood Board Chairman Robert Finley hopes the change brings a reduction in crime.

"I think it will help by basically making the streets a little bit safer from people who choose to commit crimes in the dark, like drug dealers, prostitutes, that sort of thing," Finley said.

He said he'd like to see brighter lights on Kuhio Avenue and Ala Wai Boulevard.

"We don't want to see anybody hurt, murdered, or that sort of thing in Waikiki," Finley said.

The swap will save tax payers about $5 million a year. The Greater Waikiki branch of The Outdoor Circle supports the cost-cutting measure, but it has concerns.

"I'd like to see the City and County people take a more interesting view for the citizens and the environment rather than just saving electricity," the organization's president Brian Bagnall said.

The group said the new bulbs will add to light pollution on the island.

They are also concerned about the LED's effects on plants and marine life.

"One of these things about preserving the night sky so that our keiki will be able to see the Milky Way and the stars at night," Bagnall said. "They can cast their lights too far and wide and so it's a delicate matter to do it well."

The city said the LED lights will use a warmer color that's recommended by the American Medical Association.

We're told the lights will also be projected down on the roadway.

The lights will first be changed on the North Shore, the leeward and windward areas, and then towards central Oahu, Pearl City, and downtown Honolulu.

Work will be done during the day, but the city said there will be some work done at night to avoid impacting traffic.

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