Decades-old gas lamps in Oakmont may be converted to LED lights
Natural 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 gas lamps across from the businesses along the cobblestone road to LED lights for years.
Some were converted in 2015 when the Hulton Bridge was replaced. About 50 out of 60 remain powered by Peoples Gas.
“They run all the time,” committee chairwoman Joanne Anderson said. “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.”
It costs the committee around $12,000 annually to keep the gas lights on, Anderson said.
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.
The group is seeking a $300,000 Multimodal Transportation Fund grant through the state Department of Community and Economic Development to complete the conversion, Anderson told council at a workshop meeting Monday.
The grant requires a 30% match. The committee has $60,000 available and seeks about $30,000 from the borough.
The costs are estimates, and the committee is working with engineering firm Santangelo & Lindsay of New Brighton on project specifics, Anderson said. The look of the lamps and poles is 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 hopes to work with the gas company in an effort to convert the lights block by block instead of all at once.
Tracking each shutoff valve and its connected lamp proved difficult, she said, 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 .