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NEW ORLEANS Officials for the city of New Orleans announced Tuesday morning that they are using $1.7 million in excess capital funds from a debt service program to pay for repairs to around 1,000 broken streetlights.

Streetlights that don't work have been a prime complaint for area residents for years, especially when sections of the interstate system are left in the dark.

But crews started working last week to repair them under the new Streetlight Capital Improvement Program, as it is called.

The program is designed to replace broken bulbs, broken wires, broken poles, and complete other repairs.

The prime target is to get the streetlights working on the interstates, especially in New Orleans East.

'The first priority is to get the 800 outages that we've been tracking on the interstate system done, and this is the interstate system essentially from the parish line in the east, all the way to the parish line in the west, plus the Pontchartrain Expressway, so that's the first priority,' said Lt. Col. Mike Jernigan, Director of the City of New Orleans Department of Public Works.

They figure it will cost $1 million to fix the streetlights along the interstate and service roads.

Then Lt. Col. Jernigan says they'll use the rest of the funds to repair as many broken lights as possible in the city's various neighborhoods.

That includes the mostly blacked out sections of one of America's most famous streets, St. Charles Avenue.

The work should be completed this fall.

Outages are identified from reports from residents to the NOLA 311 system. Residents are encouraged to report outages to 311, which operates 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. on Monday Friday.

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