If you thought Clark Griswold’s Christmas light project for his house was a difficult one, you should see the lighting project Guilford County government is about to embark on.

The county’s Emergency Services Department is overhauling the lights on the Summerfield 800 Megahertz Tower at 5501 Centerfield Road in Summerfield.

Guilford County Emergency Services Director Jim Albright said this week that the project has been a long time coming.

“We are replacing the original lighting system on the tower that dates back to 1996,” Albright said.  “We’re replacing it with a much more modern system, and this RFQ [Request for Qualifications] is for qualified tower contractors to remove the old system and replace it with the new one.”

He added that it will be quite a task.

“The tower is tall,” he said, “and the installers have to climb it and work on it.”

To be exact, the tower is 660 feet tall.

The lights may or may not be pretty, but they serve an important purpose: “Aviation obstruction lighting” increases the visibility of the tower in all types of weather so that, among other things, planes and other flying objects don’t fly into it.

Aviation safety lighting is often used on towers, tall buildings and tall bridges.

This week, Guilford County opened up the project for bids from contractors.  Those bids will be taken by the Guilford County Purchasing Department until the deadline at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 2.

Guilford County is holding a virtual pre-proposal meeting on Tuesday, May 17, and a site walkthrough will be held on Wednesday, May 18, at the tower in Summerfield.

Guilford County always – though frequently unsuccessfully – seeks participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in major projects.  The county has put out the word that it’s seeking these participants on this project as well.

If you’re someone who owns a business that puts big lights on tall structures, you can find the bidding documents, drawings and specifications on Guilford County’s Vendor Self Service Automated Bidding System at: https://guilfordcountync.munisselfservice.com.

Respondents and their sub-contractors have to be licensed in North Carolina.

A bid deposit isn’t required but Guilford County is notifying bidders that the county “reserves the right to reject any or all bids and to waive informalities.”