Gulf Power Company has started installing LED streetlights along 19 miles of U.S. 98 in Santa Rosa County as part of a partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation and Santa Rosa County. Florida State Rep. Doug Broxson-R, Gulf Breeze spearheaded the initiative.

“Thousands of people travel on U.S. 98 every day and we have worked with the Florida Department of Transportation to make this LED project a priority,” Broxson said. “Partnering with the FDOT, Santa Rosa County and Gulf Power Company will enhance safety along this critical backbone for economicgrowth, commerce and tourism in Santa Rosa County — and all of Northwest Florida.”

Gulf Power contractors will install a 280-watt LED streetlight every 200 to 250 feet — from the eastern edge of Gulf Islands National Seashore to the Okaloosa County line. The high-efficiency LEDs will cover 19 miles of roadway with a crisp, white, dark-sky friendly light.

The stretch of U.S. 98 in Santa Rosa County has seen traffic swell along with economic growth. The long ribbon of state road serves as the main artery connecting commuters, vacationers and commercial transportation — about 40,000 vehicles per day. But the road also is filled with school traffic, locals making retail trips and pedestrians.

“It will enhance safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians along a vital corridor in Santa Rosa County” said Natalie Smith, Gulf Power spokesperson. “This partnership will help make our highways safer for thousands of people who travel through our community.”

The FDOT is paying for the installation of the LED streetlights, while Santa Rosa County will pay for the operation and maintenance. It is the largest LED street-lighting project ever for Gulf Power.

LED street lights are about 40-percent more efficient than the 460-watt high intensity discharge lights normally used on this type of roadway. Typical LED street lights are rated for a minimum of 50,000 hours — more than 12 years of nighttime operation. This is more than double that of typical high intensity discharge streetlights — which are rated at 24,000 hours or less.

The main part of the project, some 800 lights, should be completed in about six months. The first phase will take about 90 days, with Gulf Power contractors installing about 300 LED streetlights on existing utility poles that have voltage. Later in the spring, contractors start the next phase, installing some 500 lights and poles along U.S. 98. The final phase includes areas with permitting and other issues.

Gulf Power Company is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 430,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at or on the company’s Facebook page, Gulf Power Company.