The City of West Allis street lighting system is maintained solely by the Department of Public Work's Electrical Division. In 2018, the City's lighting system was comprised of fifty-one low-voltage circuits and seventy-seven high-voltage circuits.
While high-voltage circuits are able to serve larger areas than their low-voltage counterparts, it's much more dangerous for City staff to complete maintenance on a system with high-voltage. In order to work on high-voltage circuits, City electrical staff are required to complete specialized training and the actual maintenance activities are more time-consuming and costly.
In addition to the challenges of working on high-voltage circuits, the infrastructure required to maintain the circuits is quickly becoming obsolete. With the discontinuance of low-pressure sodium light manufacturing the City has until 2026 before large numbers of street light fixtures begin to go dark.
What We're Doing
In recent years, the City has begun transitioning our high-voltage circuits to low-voltage circuits. This consists of changing low-pressure sodium lights that are currently in operation to low-voltage LED lights. The City estimates that all low-pressure sodium lights will be replaced by 2032.
High-voltage circuits being converted this year can be found on the current map of Capital Improvement Projects (PDF).
Once the City has replaced all low-pressure sodium lights, the focus will switch to the replacement of high-pressure sodium lights. The overall street light conversion project is expected to be completed by 2038.