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Medford switching to LED street lights

Medford recently began a project to make all its street and decorative lights more energy efficient.

The work involves removing the sodium and mercury-based lamps in all the city’s 4,783 street lights and 181 decorative lights, and replacing them with longer-lasting LED lights.

In addition to reducing energy consumption, the upgrade will improve the color and quality of the lights, increasing safety for pedestrians and drivers, according to Alicia Hunt, Medford’s director of energy and environment.

The city began preparing for the project last year when it undertook an audit of the lights, which are all on city-owned streets. Medford then purchased the street lights from National Grid — it already owned the decorative lights — and this spring converted a sample number to LED in a pilot phase of the project.


The city is now converting all the other lights. The contractor is expected to install approximately 100 new fixtures a day, with the project targeted for completion in February.

As part of the work, the city also will be installing controls that will enable staff to be alerted when a fixture stops working, allowing for timely repairs.

About half the cost of the estimated $2 million project is being covered by state grants and utility energy efficiency incentives.

“This project will improve the quality of life in the city, increase safety, and help us achieve our goal of zero carbon by 2050,” Mayor Stephanie M. Burke said in a statement.

The state and National Grid also are upgrading lights to LED on state roads in Medford, including recently on Fellsway West and some entrance and exit ramps to Interstate 93, work that will continue through the winter.

John Laidler can be reached at