Why Winnipeg is delayed in replacing the purple lights

The City of Winnipeg is working to replace defective street lights that are casting a purple glow on city streets; however, it’s run into some supply issues.

In a city report for the public works committee, it says that Manitoba Hydro workers have replaced more than 1,000 defective street lights since the issue was identified in April 2021. As of February 2023, there are still 884 known purple light issues in the city.

The defective lights are in clusters around the city, mostly on collector roads or transitions from residential areas to main roads. A few of the areas that are still experiencing issues with the purple lights are Wilkes Avenue, Corydon Avenue, St. Anne’s Road, Main Street and parts of Portage Avenue.

The problem with the lights is that the LED bulbs are casting a purple or blue glow onto the streets due to “delamination.” This is caused by a manufacturer defect in the bulb where the phosphor coating that’s meant to make the lights appear white is coming off.

The defective lights were sold to a number of utilities across the world, with reports of purple light issues in Vancouver, several U.S. states and the U.K.

The city report notes that Manitoba Hydro is still in the process of changing the defective lights. However, the Crown corporation does not have a projected completion date as it’s experiencing delays due to supply issues with the replacement lights. The new lights are being replaced free of charge since they are under warranty and it’s a manufacturer defect.

The city report was commissioned in June 2022 to identify the areas of the city with defective street lights and create a plan to update these lights with functioning bulbs. The report is on the agenda for the May 8 meeting of the public works committee.

– With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks.

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