City of Calgary flips switch on late street lighting repairs – Calgary

In Calgary’s Southwood community, a string of streetlights went out and weeks passed before the message came through: repairs are needed.

Resident Jenn Kirkup says children were at risk.

“Especially in school zones, as soon as it starts getting dark, there’s no light for the kids when they’re outside, and a lot of kids go out now when the weather’s better.”

Becky Poschman says it was a one kilometer stretch of community park and play areas that became unsafe.

“There have been a number of lights that seem to remain in the dark for all that time,” Poschman said.

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“Walking my dog, especially in the winter, becomes a challenge and a safety concern because we can’t see the ice that might be building up.”

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A City of Calgary audit that began in November 2022 revealed that a high-priority call, like the one from Southwood, was supposed to take about 14 days. The reality was that the average waiting time was 77 days.

Troy McLeod, director of mobility for the City of Calgary, says a change in contractors and a good winter contributed to increased wait lists for repairs.

“We had a very severe winter and we have a lot of freeze and thaw cycles, so our underground cables fail from time to time and we have to repair them. We had a number of other challenges with the system itself. “We had a supply chain challenge.”

But the street lighting crew got to work, hired additional help, and the problem was solved.

“Now we are left with a response time of 10 days, less than 500 outages, when at one point there were more than 5,000 outages. That is why we are grateful for the process we had and also for the team we have that responds to public lighting in our city.”

McLeod says it’s a great job. The city has more than 105,000 street lighting fixtures with a replacement value of $1.9 billion. The city can receive up to 800 calls a month for repairs.

He says the success rate for street lighting is now 99.8 percent, so the problem is solved. But he adds that it’s a big safety issue, so anyone who sees a non-working traffic light should call 311 or use the city app to enter a service address.

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