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40 percent of Detroit's street lights are out

Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:34 PM

DETROIT, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Detroit officials said Tuesday they aim to complete an overhaul of Motor City's street lights -- 40 percent of which are dark -- by the end of 2016.

The city's new Public Lighting Authority is backing off a detailed ZIP code-by-ZIP code schedule it recently released, saying the end-2016 target is its only concrete goal, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The original plan included some start dates next month, but a delay of a month or two is now likely.

"It's dark on every side street around here, and even walking down East 7 Mile it's very, very dark," Michelle Hagerman, 40, a supervisor in the city's Department of Elections and a homeowner in the area of I-75 and East 7 Mile, told the newspaper. On 7 Mile, she said, "there might be a light every so often, but not many."

The three-year project includes the reduction of the current 88,000-fixture system to about 46,000 lights.

Complex transformer problems and underground cable issues on top of theft, delayed maintenance and lack of investment mean the only solution is a complete overhaul of the system, experts said.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes last week approved a $210 million proposal to pay for the lighting project.

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