Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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You may not be imagining purple street lights after all


Burlington residents who think they’re seeing purple, possibly are – and need to report the phenomenon to Duke Energy for repairs


It isn’t just Jimi Hendrix who’s seeing a “purple haze” these days as a growing number of Burlington residents notice a strange violet glow emanating from some of the city’s streetlights.

This sudden change in the hue of the lights has a perfectly logical explanation according to Hank Henning with Duke Energy, who briefed Burlington’s city council about the phenomenon earlier this week.

“It’s a manufacturing defect that has occurred,” he said during the council’s monthly work session on Monday. “Essentially the true color of the light is purple, and the laminate is peeling off of the lights.”

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Henning added that Duke Energy is able to correct the problem when the locations of the defective lights are brought to its attention. Another company representative, Tracey Kendrick, said that it normally takes three days to repair a broken or defective light that’s reported through Duke Energy’s website.

The afterglow from Henning’s report remained with the council as it turned to another matter related to streetlights on its work session agenda.

As the meeting progressed, Brian Tennant, the city’s transportation engineering and operations manager, discussed some potential streetlight enhancements in the city’s downtown business district. Tennant attributed the interest in these improvements to a recent uptick in this area’s homeless population. He went on to propose a “pilot” study to address any potential inadequacies in the lighting within this part of the city.

Nolan Kirkman, Burlington’s assistant city manager for development services, urged the council to consider some minor tweaks to the streetlights rather than a potentially costly overhaul of the downtown district’s lighting.

“Overall, it’s not that bad,” he assured the council.

Mayor Jim Butler nevertheless noted that the existing conditions have raised some concerns for many residents who patronize the business district.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to make people feel safe,” he added before reflecting on the previous agenda item about purple-tinged streetlights. “Everywhere that it’s needing a light,” the mayor continued, “I’m going to complain that it’s purple.”


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