Public Works and Environmental Services

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703-324-5111 TTY 711
12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 463, Fairfax, Va 22035
Aileen Santiago
Chief, Streetlights

Minor Streetlight Upgrades

Minor Streetlight Upgrades Program (MSLU) is the former DIM BULB Program.

Funds are available for upgrading existing streetlights.

This program provides for the upgrading of existing streetlights that do not meet current lighting standards. It is possible that some streetlights that have been in service for an extended period of time are not performing in accordance to present day street lighting standards. To remedy this situation, Fairfax County provides a mechanism through a citizen petition process for the upgrading of deficient streetlights.


  • Enhances Crime Deterrence
  • Enhances Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic Safety

Brief Summary

Requests to upgrade existing streetlights will be implemented, contingent upon the availability of funds. The requests will be processed in sequential order based on the date that a valid petition was received by the county. When program funds have been depleted, the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) will stop accepting new upgrade petitions until additional funds are appropriated. Streetlights to be upgraded shall be governed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' contractual terms and conditions with the utility company and the Virginia Department of Transportation permit requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

Requests to upgrade existing streetlights will be limited to:

  • Replacing Mercury Vapor (MV), High Pressure Sodium Vapor (HPSV), and Metal Halide (MH) fixtures to LED
  • Sizing new lamps as to meet current illumination standards
  • Existing poles will not be relocated nor new poles will be set
  • Upgrading fixtures that do not meet lighting standards


A petition form signed by the simple majority of residents that are directly impacted must be submitted to the county. Directly impacted by the streetlight upgrade would be those residents that are within proximity of the streetlight distribution to include those that abut the property and those residents directly across the street. There will be no direct cost to the residents for the upgrade of existing streetlights except as provided in Implementation Provisions (paragraph below). Fairfax County will continue to pay the utility company for the operation and maintenance of the upgraded streetlights.

Some Exclusions and Limitations

Streetlights will not be upgraded along roadways where active land development projects are required to perform that work as a condition of plan approval specified in the Public Facilities Manual. Requests to upgrade existing streetlights within the boundaries of a defined subdivision shall be limited to a total cost to the county of $2,000 per year. Requests to upgrade existing streetlights outside the boundaries of defined residential subdivisions shall be limited to a reasonable grouping of lights where the total cost to the county does not exceed $2,000.

In 2019, a new LED Conversion Streetlight Program (LCSP) was implemented to convert all antiquated MV, HPSV and MH streetlights to LED. This program is projected to be completed in five (5) years.The intent of the LED Conversion Program is to not only convert antiquated light fixtures to LED, but to ensure lighting levels to the roadway meet current lighting level standards. All lighting requests for the DIM Bulb Program will be coordinated with the scheduling of the 5-year LED Conversion Streetlight Program. Turnaround times in the DIM Bulb Program request may be delayed, because the request may fall within a larger area of a LCSP to convert all lights in the area at one time.  

Streetlights Implementation

The new LED streetlights will be sized as to meet adopted roadway lighting standards. The conversion of existing MV, HPSV and MH streetlights to LED may result in the mixing of two different light source colors in a given area. In order to meet lighting standards, additional streetlights may be installed on existing poles within the area requested for upgrade. These additional installations will be subject to the availability of county funds. If no county funds are available at the time, the community will have the option to provide the necessary money to install the additional lights or place the request on hold until new funds are appropriated.

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