Street Lighting

The general purpose of the Winston-Salem Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Street Lighting Program is to improve visibility of the street system. The system includes sidewalks, traffic signs/markings, and the physical features of the roadway.

To report a street light outage or problem please call CityLink at (336) 727-8000.

The WSDOT uses high pressure sodium lights for all new installations. These lights are twice as energy efficient as the previously used mercury vapor and metal halide lights. Street lights are installed based on roadway type and usage:

Roadway Type Roadway Usage
Expressway Commercial
Major Collector Intermediate
Local Residential
Alley (Commercial Only)

The minimum required street lighting in the above areas may differ in locations with special nighttime conditions, such as: high pedestrian use, heavy vehicle traffic, traffic accident problems, or documented high crime locations.

In existing business and industrial areas where all electrical utilities are underground, street lighting is usually installed with underground wiring. In developing business and industrial areas where all electrical utilities are planned to be underground, the City encourages the installation of metal or fiberglass poles with underground electrical service.

Two Types of Streetlights

The city uses two types of street lights.

  • Lumen Mercury Vapor (LMV), uses mercury vapor or metal halides (salts) that gives the street lights a bluish tint or glow. These lights are being replaced with High Pressure Sodium (HPS).
  • High Pressure Sodium (HPS), uses sodium under high pressure to create a yellow or amber light. The high pressure sodium lights are much more environmentally safe because they do not use dangerous toxic mercury or heavy metals. The streetlights are more economical by creating twice as much light for the same amount of electricity.

Requesting Decorative Lighting

Below are the guidelines for requesting decorative street lighting for subdivisions within the city revised on August 23, 2005:

  1. The developer and/or homeowners make the initial request for decorative streetlighting.
  2. The city requests a copy of the Homeowners Associations’ Articles of Incorporation and Restrictive Covenants. (NOTE: If a Homeowners Association has not been formed, an Association must be established prior to any Agreement with the city for decorative lights.)
  3. Decorative streetlighting fixtures and pole choices are given to the Association/ Developer for review. Both the city and Duke Power Company can attend any meetings requested by the Association to discuss options, procedures, etc. Upon choosing a fixture, maps depicting lighting locations for both decorative and standard systems are prepared and a preliminary cost estimate. The Association is given the opportunity to provide input on the locations of the streetlights; however, the spacing requirements set by Duke Power Company and the City of Winston-Salem will be followed.
  4. The City Attorney’s office reviews the Associations documents for wording that gives the Association the power to assess each homeowner for the payment of the decorative lighting system. (One hundred percent (100%) of the homeowners must be members of the Association.)
  5. The Association/Developer makes its final decision on decorative lighting - the choice to have decorative lighting and the lighting layout.
  6. A written request is sent to Duke Power for a written cost quote including but not limited to:
    Decorative adder charge,
    Initial cost to install the decorative system,
    “Early Out” charge for removal of existing streetlighting system if one exists.
  7. The city forwards this written quote and the length of the contract period to the Association/Developer. (The length of the contract period is based on the State Utility Commission approved PL Rate Schedule.)
  8. The Association/Developer sends a letter of intent to the city stating its desire to have decorative streetlights and its understanding that the decorative adder/installation charges must be paid up-front before the streetlighting can be installed by Duke Power Company.
  9. The Council Action Request and Resolution and the Letter of Intent is sent to City Council for approval to enter into a contract between the city and the Homeowners Association. Upon approval of City Council, the Association/Developer signs the contract to pay the cost difference between the standard streetlight system and the decorative system as well as any other charges associated with the installation and/or removal in the development.
  10. Duke Power Company sends the Association/Developer the invoice for the up-front charges.
  11. The Association pays Duke Power Company directly for the up-front charges. The city issues a work order to Duke Power Company after the contract has been executed between the City and the Homeowners Association/Developer.
  12. The city invoices the Association/Developer annually for the electrical cost difference and administrative cost for the term of the contract period. The first invoice is issued one year after the system is installed.

Call or e-mail Deneen Skyles deneeni@cityofws.org at the WSDOT for more information. 

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