Thousands of Detroit's new streetlights dimming, burning out

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DETROIT (AP) — Thousands of Detroit's new LED streetlights are prematurely dimming and burning out in parts of the city and more could fail, according to city officials.

A February letter from the Public Lighting Authority's law firm says problems were discovered last fall with units made by Leotek Electronics USA that were "charred, burned, or cracked," The Detroit News reported. The last of Detroit's 65,000 new LED streetlights were installed in 2016 as part of a $185 million program that was hailed as a success in the city's turnaround efforts.

Leotek made about one-third of Detroit's new lights and they were expected to last at least a decade. The San Jose, California-based company acknowledged in a December letter to the lighting authority that there were problems. It apologized and pledged to work with the city to correct them.

Leotek didn't immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The lighting authority, which maintains the LED streetlights in neighborhoods across Detroit, sued Monday in federal court, saying upward of 20,000 LED lights are "prematurely dimming and burning out."

Mayor Mike Duggan told the newspaper it could cost the city up to $9 million to make fixes, but repairs will be done as reimbursement is sought from the manufacturer.

"We find a problem, we face up to it and we solve it, and that's what we're doing," Duggan said. "We're going full speed ahead on replacement and suing them for the $8 (million) to $9 million it will cost us."

Work to replace the failed or failing lights could start by next month and be completed by November.

"We're going to move quickly," Duggan said. "We will get them all replaced by the end of the year. In many cases, we'll replace them before they dim."


Information from: The Detroit News,

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