INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The City of Independence is in the middle of a massive bulb-replacing project that it expects will save the city millions of taxpayer dollars.
For the past four months, utility crews have been fitting all the street lights with energy-efficient bulbs. The bulbs produce a white glow instead of the usual yellow-glare.
The city is paying $3.2 million for the bulbs, but city officials say the bulbs will pay for themselves in savings in seven years.
The new bulbs are expected to last five times longer than the current bulbs. Independence officials said they will save $250,000 in energy costs and $150,000 in maintenance costs each year.
"The lights are good for 20-25 years, so we've cut down on the life of our street lights," said Mayor Don Reimal. "We've cut down on maintenance. We've improved lighting. It's going to be brighter."
The bulbs are also better for the environment, according to Independence leaders, emitting 10 million fewer pounds of greenhouse gases.
"The emissions from the old style lights, it's like we're taking 880 cars off the streets every year so the CO2 that is emitted from the old lights won't be there, makes for a healthier environment," Reimal said.
The city hopes to have every street lamp replaced by the end of the year. Other cities like Los Angeles and Baltimore are also in the middle of changing out their street lights, but Independence believes it will be the first city in the nation to complete the change-out.