In a few weeks, strolling a popular South Park pedestrian walkway will no longer be just a daily affair.
Work has begun on a project to illuminate an approximately 3 km stretch of path along Corrigan Drive between Library and Brownsville streets with 122 energy efficient solar powered lights.
Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County’s executive, said the project had multiple objectives.
“This project is the latest in a long list of sustainable initiatives in our parks and across the county,” he said. “Not only does this allow greater use of the path, it also makes it safer for users.”
County Parks Department officials said they wanted to add lighting to improve safety along the trail because the trail is open daily from morning to evening and is often used by people early in the morning and late at night.
During construction, parts of the trail will be closed for two to three hours at a time. People using the trial version will be redirected to a nearby bike path. The work will not affect vehicle traffic along Corrigan Drive.
Fitzgerald said the pilot was also “an opportunity to educate residents about the benefits of solar and sustainable projects like this one,” he said.
The district’s public works department, which is managing the project, will be making and installing signs along the way with information about solar lighting and the importance of using renewable energy, the district manager said.
Each of the poles will be equipped with a solar panel, battery and LED lighting to “continue the county’s commitment to renewable energy and improving air quality in the area,” said Fitzgerald.
Using solar energy instead of a traditional power source saves about $ 1,300 annually.
District officials noted that a calculation by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that the new lighting system will consume 16,511 kilowatt hours per year, equivalent to a charge of approximately 1.489 million smartphones.
Based on this data, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the solar lights prevent 20,194 pounds of carbon dioxide, 16 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 14 pounds of nitric oxide from being emitted by local power plants each year, Fitzgerald said.
The lighting system manufacturer, Greenshine New Energy, estimates that after five years the cost of installing solar-powered lights will be 41.5% lower than traditional systems due to energy savings and other factors.
The $ 738,750 project is funded with a $ 323,750 grant from the county’s Clean Air Fund to pay for the solar panels and batteries.
The Clean Air Fund uses fines from polluters to fund projects to improve air quality. No tax money is paid into the fund.
The rest of the work is paid for by the county public works department.
The work, which is expected to be completed in April, will be carried out by Allegheny City Electric of Ross Township.
Tony LaRussa is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected], or on Twitter.
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