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February 21, 2022, 11:01 am

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Installation of street lighting on Ryazansky Prospekt. Photo by B. Yaroslavtsev. 1947 Main Archive of Moscow

Documents about this have been preserved in the Main Archive of Moscow.

Street lighting in Moscow by the mid-1950s left much to be desired. About 300 city passages, more than 50 schools and children’s institutions did not have outdoor lighting. New buildings were rapidly appearing, and street light sources in new areas were clearly not enough. There was a shortage of electricity even in the center of the capital and important highways. And there was no plan for further development of the outdoor lighting network at all. The issue of lack of light attracted the attention of the Moscow City Council, and on February 22, 1955, this problem began to be solved. The relevant documents are preserved in Head Archive of Moscow.

In the period from 1955 to 1960, the Office of Outdoor Lighting of the capital was given the task of reconstructing the entire light network of Moscow. It was necessary to install lamps in all city passages, build transformer substations, and establish a centralized lighting control system. It was also necessary to develop new types of lamps and install them on the streets of Moscow. Lighting power in the city and on highways was now supported by three power plants and three substations, which had backup power sources in case of an accident.

Later changes also affected urban construction. So, when designing residential buildings and other structures, the Main Architectural and Planning Department allocated special premises for transformer substations. The construction of a laboratory for testing and repairing the transformers themselves was also conceived.

For the work, the Outdoor Lighting Authority received 500 tons of metal pipes to upgrade the outskirts and replace the wooden poles on the paved streets. The Karacharov Mechanical Plant produced 1,500 tons of cast iron, and the plants of the Road and Bridge Construction Department produced 1,000 cubic meters of ready-mixed concrete for lighting masts. In total, in 1955, to solve the problem with lighting, two thousand standard, one thousand special and 150 reinforced concrete masts were manufactured.

In order to avoid problems with timely testing of the network, the Outdoor Lighting Department received 10 vehicles converted to pickups and 10 new telescopic aerial platforms. All 60 power points were equipped with telephones for proper and accurate operation.

Today Moscow is one of the five most illuminated cities in the world. In the evening, almost a million lamps are turned on in the capital. 350,000 luminaires are used for architectural and landscape lighting.

Since 2011, the number of lighting fixtures on the streets of the Russian capital has almost doubled. And thanks to the systematic transition to LED lamps, the energy consumption of the city remained at the same level.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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