Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Lights Out in Bernalillo

Faulty street lamps being replaced along Camino del Pueblo


Things are looking brighter for downtown Bernalillo.

The process has already begun to replace faulty components on more than 30 decorative street lamps along a stretch of Camino del Pueblo – also NM 313 – between Calle del Norte and Calle del Presidente that were part of phase III of the town’s Streetscape project.

“We had to replace the entire stretch,” Town of Bernalillo Public Works Director Troy Martinez told the Signpost.

He added that about half of the light poles along the stretch have dual lamps, meaning between 50 and 60 luminaires will be replaced in all.

The first 10 lights were replaced last month. Martinez said the replacement lights are being shipped in groups of roughly 10 at a time and will be installed soon after they arrive. 

Installation of the new luminaries are being staggered between light poles, so to more evenly disperse light from the street lamps that are functional. People may notice a different hue coming from the new lights, Martinez said, because unlike the original lights the new ones are LED. 

“That’s good as a cost benefit for us, and it saves energy,” Martinez said.

The original street light replacement was part of a $1.3 million third phase of the Streetscape project that involved removing and installing new ADA compliant sidewalks with drive pads for every commercial and residential property along the corridor, as well as the necessary asphalt work. In addition to installing decorative street lamps, the also involved relocating overhead and below ground power along the same stretch of road.

A California company was awarded the bid to provide the luminaries and MWI, Inc. of Albuquerque was hired as the subcontractor for the electrical work.

About a year after the new lights were installed they began to fail, Martinez said. It was a few at a time at first, but by late 2020 all of the lights were out. The town contacted MWI, which found no fault in its work. Several rounds of testing ensued, which involved shipping components back and forth to the manufacturer.

“It took a year to agree that it’s a manufacturer issue,” Martinez said.

The faulty lights were covered under warranty, so it won’t cost the town additional money. 


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