Decades old gas lamps in Oakmont to be converted to LED lights |

Decades old gas lamps in Oakmont to be converted to LED lights

Michael DiVittorio

Gas lamps along Allegheny River Boulevard in Oakmont may be going out as a borough committee seeks state funding for replacements.

Oakmont Boulevard Project members have been working on converting the lamps across from the businesses along the cobblestone road into LED lights for years.

Some were converted in 2015 when the Hulton Bridge was replaced. About 49 out of 60 remain powered by Peoples Gas.

“They run all the time,” said Joanne Anderson, committee chairwoman. “With the advent of LED technology, it is so inexpensive to run lights. It makes it all the more attractive to switch over, plus the maintenance.”

Anderson said it costs the committee around $12,000 annually to keep the gas lights on. The conversion is expected to reduce that expense to around $1,200 a year.

The committee is considering turning off the lamps to save money while it applies for project funding.

Anderson told council at a workshop meeting Monday that her group is seeking a $300,000 Multimodal Transportation Fund grant through the state Department of Community and Economic Development to complete the conversion.

The grant comes with a 30 percent match. The committee has $60,000 available and seeks about $30,000 from the borough.

Anderson said their costs were estimates, and the committee is working with engineering firm Santangelo & Lindsay of New Brighton on project specifics. She said the look of the lamps and poles are not expected to change much, just the power source and illumination.

Council President William Benusa said he would like to see more concrete numbers before making any commitments. Other council members expressed support for the project.

“It’s an aesthetic thing and they do look nice,” Councilman Tim Favo said.

The grant application is due by the end of the month, and is expected to be awarded in November.

Councilwoman Carrie DelRosso said the matching funds would be allocated in next year’s budget should the borough decide to support it.

Anderson hoped to work with the gas company in an effort to convert the lights block by block instead of all at once.

She said tracking each shutoff valve and its connected lamp proved difficult, and it’s likely more expensive to convert them in segments than all at once.

Refurbishment of the existing lights also is projected to be more costly than replacement, Anderson said. An official timetable for the project has not been set.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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