Chicago to upgrade 270,000 street lights over 4 years

The city says the brighter lights will improve visibility and thus make streets, sidewalks and bike paths safer.

Chicago is about to get brighter.

Over the next four years, the city will replace more than 270,000 street, alley and park lights with higher quality lighting. Low-energy LED lights will replace the outdated, high pressure sodium lamps.

"It will last 2 to 3 times longer than our current lighting, resulting in fewer outages and quicker responsiveness when outages do occur," Chicago Dept. of Transportation Cmsr. Rebekah Scheinfeld said.

The city said the brighter lights will improve visibility and thus make streets, sidewalks and bike paths safer. Emanuel's office said that by making neighborhoods brighter at night, it will give residents a "greater sense of safety."

The city said the project to replace the lights will save Chicago money because the new lights use far less electricity than the ones the city uses now.

The initiative is being described as one of the largest municipal lighting modernization projects in the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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