Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that an initiative to upgrade more than 270,000 of Chicago’s street, alley and park lights to more reliable and higher-quality lighting is proceeding to the final procurement stage. The Chicago Infrastructure Trust’s (CIT) Board of Directors this week voted to approve the recommendation that nine companies continue to the Request for Proposals stage of the procurement. The nine “shortlisted” bidders were selected from a pool of 30 that responded to a Request for Qualifications issued in April.
“Making Chicago a 21st century city means building a 21st century infrastructure to benefit every resident,” Mayor Emanuel said. “I look forward to these proven industry leaders competing to design and deliver this project that will improve public safety and increase the quality-of-life in neighborhoods throughout Chicago.”
Over the next four years, the Chicago Smart Lighting Project will replace nearly all of the city’s outdated and inefficient High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps. The project will be one of the largest municipal lighting modernization programs in the country. Work is on track to begin early next year.
“Upgrading our entire lighting system is a significant step for Chicago and it needs to be a community-driven process,” City Treasurer and Chicago Infrastructure Trust Chairman Kurt Summers said. “We need to continue to engage directly with neighborhood residents as we move forward in order to maximize the tremendous public safety and quality of life improvements this project will deliver.”
The project will improve lighting quality and reliability throughout Chicago. It will utilize LED lights, which typically last three times longer than the current HPS lights, reducing the number of outages the system experiences. Public safety will be improved with clearer, brighter and better distributed lighting. Additionally, the city’s responsiveness to outages will be improved with a lighting management system that will provide real-time updates when outages occur. The city currently relies on residents reporting outages through the 311 system.
Replacement of the HPS lamps will come at no additional cost to Chicago taxpayers. The new lights will consume 50-75 percent less electricity than HPS lights, generating significant utility cost savings that will be used to finance the project costs.
The RFQ respondents shortlisted today are: Aldridge Electric; Ameresco; Black & Veatch and Cisco; ComEd; Itron. and Neptun Light; John Burns Construction; Philips Lighting North America; Siemens; and Silver Spring Networks.
The project is being done in coordination with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and the Chicago Park District. When complete, the project will have replaced approximately 85 percent of the city’s outdoor lights. The focus will be on the most common fixture types; ornamental fixtures may be converted in later stages. The project will include a public engagement process to solicit input from residents about preferences and priorities for neighborhood lighting. CDOT will continue to make targeted repairs or replacement of poles and wiring as part of the city’s capital program.
All contracts with the selected bidder(s) will go before the City Council for approval. Chicago’s streetlights will continue to be owned and operated by the city of Chicago.