Lawrence streets turning purple from ‘prematurely’ failing lights

photo by: Dylan Lysen/Lawrence Journal-World

A streetlight along Tennessee Street seen in July 2021 shines with a purple hue, while a light seen in the background on the right in Watson Park provides a normal light.

Lawrence residents traveling through town after the sun goes down have most likely noticed an unexpected hue filling the streets.

A malfunction with lights along the city’s streets has given many a purple cast. Some of the most noticeable are two street lights along Tennessee Street, just south of Sixth Street near downtown Lawrence.

While those purple lights are bright, but maybe less harsh than standard LED lights, they are not meant to be that way.

Andrew Baker, a spokesman for Evergy, recently told the Journal-World the lights were turning unexpected colors because the lights were failing “prematurely.” He said there were about 240 of the affected lights in the Lawrence area.

“The lights are turning blue/purple due to a sub-component within the light fixture prematurely failing and allowing too much of the blue/purple light spectrum to shine through, changing the color of the light,” Baker said in an email last week.

Baker also said the lights were placed in Lawrence over a two-year period and the ones turning purple appeared to be the ones that were installed first.

Evergy is responsible for some Lawrence street lights because the City Commission has an agreement with the energy company, which was updated in 2018. However, Baker said the company that manufactures the lights has taken responsibility for the purple hues and will cover the cost to replace them. Baker said the energy company is working with the manufacturer to replace the lights as soon as possible, but there is no set timeline.

Lawrence isn’t the only community with purple lights. Baker said Evergy-operated street lights in Wichita, Topeka, Manhattan and Emporia have seen the same issue.

Baker said residents who notice the purple lights may report them to Evergy at the company’s website,

Contact Dylan Lysen

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact reporter Dylan Lysen:


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.