New Zealand: It’s raining street lamps in Wellington, residents warned
It all started with a single street lamp. Like a heavy bud on a weak stem, it began to sway and eventually dropped, a whole 11.2 kg smashing onto the footpaths of Wellington.
But it wasn’t the end. One lamp grew into a handful, enough to raise concerns among the public and prompt complaints to local newspapers and the council.
Wellington city council has records of 17 street lamps having fallen to the ground in the last four years, while more than 160 have been reported as drooping since the problem caught the spotlight this year.
In fact, the council announced on Wednesday afternoon that all of the 17,000 lamps in New Zealand’s capital city were suffering from the same joining fault and are at risk of smashing onto the streets below without warning.
Although no one has been hurt so far, these 11 kg lamps definitely have the potential to do serious damage. Their weight is equivalent to that of a car tyre, a full-grown turkey, or two bowling balls.
“I think it’d be safe to say that you would either be seriously injured or killed,” the Guardian quoted council spokesperson Richard MacLean as saying.
The part at fault here is an aluminium-alloy adapter that attaches LED lamps to poles around Wellington, the council said, adding these adaptors don’t go well with the city’s strong winds and consequently either droop or fall to the ground.
Mayor Tory Whanau highlighted the “clear and unacceptable safety risk” the situation presented, requesting people who see a drooping light to notify the officials immediately. Wellington is now up for a significant challenge. Since the problem was first observed, just 600 lamps have been fixed.
The council is currently seeking funding from the central government and said it would cost roughly NZ$6 million to fix them all. Almost 3,200 particularly heavy lamps in the high-wind areas of the city are expected to be prioritised.