Saturday, 23 November 2013

Unnecessary lighting wastes money

I mentioned that from the train one can see the southern stump of the S79, beyond the S2 junction, all illuminated but with no traffic on it - and none expected this side of 2020. So I cycled down this evening to take a look. Yes indeed. Over 100 high-pressure sodium vapour lamps switched on... Each with a lifespan of 18,000 hours, or 1,500 days, or just over four years. So these lamps will probably have be changed twice before the S79 finally gets extended to become the S7 as it runs through Lesznowola down to Grójec.

In September, premier Donald Tusk announced that he has prioritised the completion of Warsaw's southern bypass, the S2, at the expense of the linking the S7 north and south of the capital with existing express roads, the S8 (to the north) and S79 (to the south). This means that this bit of road will remain unused for the whole of the 2014-2020 EU budget perspective and probably a few years into the next one. If there is a next one.

How much do these lights cost to keep switched on for an average of 12 hours a day? Below: a short film made while cycling along the unopen stretch of the S79, heading south. To the right, traffic coming down off the S79 merges with westbound traffic on the S2; to the left, traffic coming off the S2 merges with northbound traffic on the S79.

This is a fine example of public money being wasted through poor planning. This stretch of road had been almost completed - only the markings are missing; the crash barriers and lamps are there, the asphalt's up to the final layer.

I would dearly love to see this bit of road stretched southwards as soon as possible - if not to connect the S79 to Grójec, then at least to connect it to ul. Baletowa to relieve some of the local traffic and funnel it onto a proper dual carriageway. Or would it be too much to ask to have the S79/S7 be extended to Lesznowola to meet the Piaseczno to Magdalenka road?

Until then, the lights should be switched off here. Especially when there are stretches of the S2 and S79 which are open to traffic and are bathed in darkness at night, with the lighting switched off.

This is a wild estimate, but 100 lamps, each with 600W bulbs would use up around 200,000zł a year of electricity, plus the cost of replacing each light-bulb twice over the eight-year period.

Meanwhile, on the stretch of the S2 between ul. Poloneza and ul. Hołubcowa, the lamps are not switched on at night, leaving the expressway in the dark.

(I wrote about the premature switching-on of lighting on the north end of the S79 last November, but it would only be on for a mere nine months before the expressway was opened to traffic.)

Surely Poland's highways authority GDDKiA has better things to spend money on.

This time last year:
Warsaw's heros on the walls

This time two year:
Tax dodge or public service?

This time four years ago:
Warsaw's woodlands in autumn

This time five years ago:
Still here, the early snow

This time six years ago:
Another point of view

1 comment:

pavolk said...

I was amazed during my recent stay in Poland at the density of the lighting on some stretches of (new) road. Did the agency get a good deal on a job-lot of lamp posts? It locks in further dependence on those coal-fired power stations...