How Much Do Street Light Poles Cost?

How Much Do Street Light Poles Cost?

Street lights perform an important function in any community. They make the road safer and increase visibility for drivers and pedestrians. Street lights are also an important factor in deterring crime and making citizens more comfortable. Many people don't think about the cost of a street light pole because they're something that is usually taken care of by the town, city, or county.

Citizens can invest in an outside lighting fixture for their own yard. Still, they may want the street light installed if it's an alleyway or street area that's too dark near their property. That's not always the case, though. The local electric company owns and maintains street lights in some areas and bills the city. And there are cases where private citizens pay for street lights if none is provided by their local town and they request them for an area.

When researching street light costs for a town or community, there are various factors to consider. The location of the light and the area that needs to be illuminated can impact the cost and type of lighting chosen.

Of course, you'll be working with professional estimates before launching any project to give you an exact figure. For the scope of this post, we'd like to lay out some of the variables you should be aware of to start your research or for reference for your next major project.

How much do street light poles cost?

A street light pole is far more expensive than a consumer light pole. The average street light pole price ranges from $2,000 to $3,000, not including installation. The installation cost depends on the city, but the average is somewhere around $1,000. Street light poles are more complicated to install and considerably larger.

Because there are so many factors involved in the cost of a single light pole, it can be difficult for towns and cities to estimate costs when there's a large area to be addressed. The location of the street pole is also a factor. A city street light pole installation cost is less than installation in hard-to-reach areas or certain architecture, such as highways or bridges.

How much are street light poles, and what are the factors?

Several factors go into the cost of a street light pole. But the installation costs are not the only factor involved. Cities need to weigh the maintenance costs for the type of lighting they choose.

For instance, the difference between LED and incandescent light is fairly large. LED costs an average of $ .005 per day, whereas the incandescent averages $ .03. That seems small, but it's a large difference when you multiply it by every street light in a city over an entire month.

While the city needs to weigh the cost in their budget, they also need to consider the purpose of the lighting and which types of lighting will work best for their use. Street lights serve several purposes, including safety for drivers and pedestrians and a crime deterrent.

Four main factors go into the cost of a street light pole:

  • Materials: Street light poles are typically made from three different types of materials: steel, aluminum, and fiberglass.
    • Steel light poles are the most economical but have a shorter lifespan than the other types. This is due to their susceptibility to corrosion. Galvanized steel poles have a higher corrosion resistance, but they are more expensive.
    • Aluminum light poles are more expensive than steel poles but last much longer (although they are not as strong). They are resistant to rust, so they are a good choice for coastal areas.
    • Fiberglass light poles are the most expensive type, but they last longer than steel and are stronger than aluminum. They are highly resistant to corrosion and rust.
  • Labor: Labor is an expensive part of the process, and projects often require several experienced tradespeople. It's important to produce an estimate of these costs:
    • Project scope: How many poles will be installed? The material of the light poles will affect the complexity of their installation. Heavier poles will require more labor and possibly additional equipment.
    • Labor hours: Consult with local contractors to determine the average labor hours required per pole installation.
    • Labor rate: Obtain rates from local contractors or market data.
    • Additional costs: Find out if additional costs are related to electrical wiring, site preparation, and/or inspections.
    • Contingencies: Will there be additional costs due to issues or changes during the project?
  • Energy Consumption: The cost of running the street lights will be a factor for most cities. LED lights are the best option when looking to save on energy costs. They consume much less energy than standard metal halide lights. On average, LEDs consume 50-80% less energy to produce the same amount of light. This efficiency translates to lower electricity bills. Additionally, LED lights will save you money because they have a longer lifespan, which results in drastically reduced maintenance costs. You will likely have to replace five or six metal halide bulbs before you replace one LED bulb/array.
  • Maintenance: Maintenance includes fixing any issues with a street light caused by wear, time, or a possible accident. It also includes everyday maintenance, such as replacing bulbs (infrequent, depending on the type), cleaning, checking wiring, etc.

Who is responsible for street lights?

Every city is a little different. In some areas, the City Department of Transportation is in charge of the street lights. It might be the city, the county, or a homeowner's association in other areas. The city, town, or county might own the street lights and pay for repair and maintenance. But there may be entities, like the fire department or Department of Transportation, that take an active role in the maintenance. They would be who you would call if a street light stopped working.

Who pays for street lights?

You might be surprised at who pays for the street lights because they vary. In some areas, the city or county pays for the lights. But some areas don't have street lights, and if a citizen requests lights, that homeowner would need to pay the lighting bill.

In other instances, the electric company in the area may own and maintain some of the street lights and charge the city for use and maintenance.

Who pays to replace a street light? That can vary, as well. Often, the town or city is responsible for the cost of replacing street lights. Still, they might bill a driver, for instance, if the original street light was damaged in an accident, causing it to need to be replaced.

How much does it cost to install a street light?

Typically, a street light might cost between $2,000 and 3,000 dollars. The installation fee for a street light can cost $1,000, depending on the area. But the costs can vary a great deal. The lighting system and power type chosen will impact the installation cost and the cost to maintain those street lights.

When weighing the purchasing decision, you want to consider the installation cost as well as the cost over the life of the light pole. For instance, LED street lights will have a different cost to install than incandescent lights and there is a fairly significant difference in how much power they use monthly. Energy efficiency will be a consideration in your lighting system, as will the cost of replacement, man-hours, and how the light pole functions.

Different areas and landscapes are a consideration, as well. Some types of lighting will work better in certain areas.

How much does a street light cost on a highway or a bridge?

Most estimates indicate that installing light poles on a highway or bridge can cost as much as 20% more. This is due to the issues with replacing them. Often these locations can be difficult to maneuver physically and require shutting streets and detouring traffic.

If a street light pole costs $4,000 in total, you can expect the same light on a highway or bridge to run $4,800.

What is the typical distance between street light poles?

It might surprise you that there is a standard distance between light poles. There are recommendations based on the best lighting options. It's surprising because many areas don't use a standard.

The best distance is 29 meters. This is an exact measurement devised based on the height of the light pole and the area it will illuminate. The measurement is calculated as 2 to 3 times the height of the light pole, usually using 2.5 times as the marker. Exact spacing makes the lighting more even on the street.

In most places, the spacing between lights is not exact. You might find some light poles spaced at 29 meters while others are 50 meters in distance. The spacing will also often depend on the street architecture. If there are no homes or businesses, there may be limited reasons to light the area.

Are you researching the street light pole cost for your next project?

If you're researching the cost of street light poles to make decisions about the best options for your city or county, contact today. Our experienced staff can offer custom pricing for any project requiring street light poles and offer an excellent resource on the different types of lighting available for your needs.

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