Lincoln Council looks to repair lighting at Exit 168
by ELSIE HODNETT
LINCOLN – The City Council is looking at ways to fix the lighting at the Interstate 20 Exit #168 interchange.

“Chris White (city code official) has done a complete inventory of those lights,” Lincoln Mayor Bud Kitchin said in a work session Tuesday. “There are 28 light poles. Some have no bulbs. Some turn on, get hot and turn off, then cool down and turn back on.”

Kitchin said the lights were put in with a state grant, however the city is responsible for the upkeep.

“The light fixtures were designed to be worked on from the ground,” he said. “You use a winch to lower the lights, then raise them back up after they are repaired. The light figures were intended for yearly maintenance, however I don’t think we have done anything since they were put in about 10 years ago.”

Kitchin said while some of the lights seem to work, most don’t.

“We need that particular accessory winch for repairs,” he said. “We had one at one time, however we can’t locate it. It is $1,300 for a new winch, and I think we should see if it’s in the budget and purchase it.”

Kitchin said he would like to have water and street superintendent Danny Groce and the street crew learn to fix the lights.

“That would take care of 80 percent of the problem,” he said. “Four poles have heads missing or damaged, and one pole was knocked down at some point over the last 10 years. We will have to get it put back up.”

Councilwoman Jean Burk asked if there was anything on record that stated the city took over maintenance of the lights from the state.

“The state put this type of light in so we can maintain it ourselves,” Kitchin said. “We will have to contract out some of the work, but I think we can lower and fix the poles with our staff for the ones we can do ourselves. We want to fix everything we can before we get quotes for the rest—erecting the one pole and fixing the other pole.”

Burk said during the election period, even though she ran unopposed, there were many residents who approached her with concerns over the lack of lighting at that intersection.

“Even though I was unopposed, I still wanted to find out what the residents of Lincoln had issues with and work to fix it,” she said. “I want to do the best for all of Lincoln, regardless if it’s in my district or not.”

Several council members asked if there was any electrical liability.

“There is a shut-off switch, so there won’t be any electrical liability to our workers,” Kitchin said. “I think if we can get 80 percent working, it would be a great improvement.”

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2013