If you have noticed things seem a little brighter driving around Paducah at night, it's not your imagination.

It's because Paducah Power System's effort to replace the conventional street lights with light-emitting diode (LED) light fixtures is underway.

"We've got about 3,800 lights to replace," according to Rick Windhorst, Paducah Power assistant general manager. "We've found a few lights that are a little different, so we're going to have to order a couple different types, but when we get them in ... all the street lights will be LED."

When the utility's board approved a $536,870 bid for materials last November, Paducah Power General Manager Dave Carroll said the switch to LED lighting is not expected to cost the city any more than the current high-pressure sodium lights.

It is anticipated the project will be done by June.

"The cost of the material itself, the cost to install them and ongoing maintenance goes up a little bit, but the energy charge goes down," Carroll told the board.

According to Windhorst, Paducah Power crews have not had any major issues in initiating the change.

"We had one person call in saying there seemed to be more light shining in their window," he said. "I think the pole may have been leaning a little bit and we had to readjust it."

Most of the comments Windhorst has heard have been positive.

"They're bright. The difference you notice, too, is you can actually see the colors," he said. "Before you couldn't see (if it was) a yellow line or a white line. It was just lines."

It's possible some drivers will not immediately recognize the lights have been changed.

"They may notice that something is a little different, but they can't put their finger on it," Windhorst said. "If they don't see trucks going around changing them out, some people won't even notice at all."

In addition to brightening things up, "what we're also hoping to see is it helps us keep our maintenance costs down. And, these have a 10-year warranty, but they tell us they're supposed to last 20 years. We'll see how that works," he said.

On major thoroughfares such as Park Avenue, the LED changeout is being done at night when traffic is not as heavy, according to Windhorst.

"Our line crews, what we're having them do is see how many lights they can fit in when they get done with their orders. So that's going to vary, but they do get in some every day. And, we have another truck we took off the line crews that changes them all day, every day," he said.

"We're trying to work in all parts of the city, so everybody can kind of see it coming in their area."

The project is expected to take until June to complete.

"I'm very pleased with the progress we're making. We're only into it about three weeks, and I want to say we're about 500 street lights in. I don't have an exact count, but we're making good headway," Windhorst said.

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