Thunder Electric employees are in the process of wiring up the bases on the new cast iron light posts to prepare them for lighting elements which should arrive next week. The lights on the North side of the street are planned to be installed first and could be operational as early as Oct 13. Since this is the first deployment of energy-efficient LED lighting in St. Louis, Cherokee Street will be a beta test for the city to determine whether the new LED fixtures are ready for widespread adoption at some or all of the 52,000 light fixtures the city maintains. Once installed, city engineers will be looking at the levels of light output, the color of the LED lighting, ability to withstand extreme temperatures, and the long term maintenance of the fixtures. One aspect of the new lighting that is well known is the electrical usage. According to Jeff from Thunder Electric, all of the new pedestrian lighting on the north side of the street from Nebraska to Jefferson will require only 15 amps, which is very minimal power consumption and a considerable reduction over traditional High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide lamps currently in use.
In addition to the new lighting, iron tree grates have been installed and are ready for the new trees. The old brick pavers between the sidewalk and the curb are in the process of being removed and replaced with exposed aggregate concrete to match the existing sidewalks and create the effect of a wider pedestrian area. Unfortunately it looks as though the contractor that installed the tree grates, and handicap ramps didn’t get the message on the exposed aggregate. Overall, despite being about a month behind schedule, the project is moving forward, looking good and is expected to be complete this month.