Works to get streetlights initiative back on track

A streetlight being replaced in Ashington last year.
A streetlight being replaced in Ashington last year.

Design issues have meant that the on-going project to replace the county’s streetlights is behind schedule, but it should be back on track this summer.

Galliford Try was appointed in December 2014 to carry out the street-lighting modernisation contract and the £23.4million initiative started on site in March last year in the south-east of the county.

The core project will see the replacement of around 28,000 lanterns converted to LED and the replacement of a further 16,500 lighting columns, which will also be fitted with an LED lantern.

Approximately 500 illuminated signs will be replaced and all 1,207 illuminated traffic bollards will be replaced.

A progress report to yesterday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s communities and local services overview and scrutiny committee states that ‘a number of the initial designs provided and implemented by the contractor were not in accordance with the specification’.

It adds: ‘The design review and recovery programme relating to this, is still having an impact on the project, and the overall programme is currently 17 weeks behind programme.

‘As many design issues have now been resolved, the plan is to have the project back on track during the summer of 2016.

‘This additional design work is at no cost to the council, has helped to deliver a more pragmatic design approach and has helped to deal with some of the general customer inquiries’.

At the end of March, more than 18 per cent of the overall programme had been completed and it is currently delivering a 66 per cent reduction in energy consumption.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “Our street-lighting scheme is continuing to provide state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting, which needs minimal maintenance.

“Thousands of people are already benefiting and we’re also looking at what other benefits this new scheme can bring, such as working to roll out three trial areas for free, street-level wifi in Ashington, Blyth and Berwick.”