A long-awaited $3.5 million lighting project for the Sepulveda Tunnel is set to begin in the first week of October.

Construction – which includes installing energy efficient LED lighting in the tunnel that serves Los Angeles International Airport – will continue through Nov. 16. The work will then resume after the holidays, from Jan. 2, 2013, through June 20.

The majority of the work will be done during overnight hours.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl brought together the Los Angeles World Airports, Bureau of Street Lighting, Bureau of Street Services, the Department of General Services and California Department of Transportation to collaborate on the plan to renovate and better maintain the tunnel.

The new lighting is expected to reduce energy costs by 65 percent, according to Ed Ebrahimian, director of the city’s Bureau of Street Lighting.

The agencies collectively agreed to be responsible for the tunnel’s upkeep, including power washing the walls and ceiling.

The tunnel was built in the early 1950s to accommodate the airport’s westward expansion without having an impact on the major north-south artery for automobile traffic.

– Donna Littlejohn