The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will use a public-private partnership (P3) to upgrade and maintain freeway lights in Detroit’s tri-county area. The project involves replacing, over a two-year period, about 87 percent of approximately 15,000 antiquated lights on freeways in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties with energy-efficient LED lights.
The team selected for the project, Freeway Lighting Partners, also will operate and maintain newly installed and existing lights on the freeways for 15 years. Freeway Lighting Partners is a consortium of Star America Fund, Aldridge Electric, Parsons Brinckerhoff (now called WSP) and Engie Services. The pay-for-performance contract requires the developer to ensure that 90 percent of the new lights work after a year of installation to receive the maximum payments; 98 percent must be operating after two years.
Funding shortages, copper theft and other problems have caused a 30 percent drop in the number of functioning lights on these freeways, reported MDOT. Using a P3 to conduct the project will save taxpayers money and permit MDOT to devote its maintenance resources on other projects, said MDOT. “In addition, improving freeway lighting enhances motorist visibility and traffic safety. Conversion to LED lights, economies of scale that lower equipment costs, and transferring risk while creating incentives to a private partner, ensure effective operation and maintenance.
The purpose of the project is to provide freeway illumination to the traveling public for motorist visibility, traffic safety and personal security, and operate and maintain the illumination for an extended period of time. MDOT expects the project will improve the current lighting infrastructure, enhance safety, achieve energy savings through the use of new technologies and create efficiencies by transferring maintenance risk and responsibility to a private partner.