SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – It will be lights out on the International Bridge arches next week as a cost-saving lighting replacement project prepares to take a highly visible step forward.
The International Bridge Authority (IBA) will be replacing the white lights that have illuminated the nighttime sky on top of the bridge’s three curved steel arches for decades. The replacement will begin next week and be complete by mid-August.
The electrical circuits feeding the current white arch lights will be turned off on Monday to allow the replacement to proceed.
“This short period where the white arch lights will no longer be lit for bridge viewers is a step toward some long-term savings for the International Bridge,” said IBA General Manager Phil Becker. “The new lighting system will improve the bridge’s appearance while cutting energy and maintenance costs.”
The IBA will be working to upgrade the 96 white high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs along the top of the U.S. and Canadian arch spans with new, more colorful and more energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lights. Between new bridge deck and arch LED systems, the IBA expects a 55 percent reduction in energy usage, which will result in savings of at least $44,310 in energy costs and $30,330 in maintenance costs over the life of the fixtures.
The red, white, and blue array of lights on the U.S. arch and the red and white array on the Canadian arch will represent the colors of each nation’s flag. The lighting will follow a pattern similar to the temporary colored lighting strands installed as part of the bridge’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2012. In 2012, the temporary lights were only installed on the arches on the eastern side of the bridge, while the permanent colored lights will be installed on the western side as well.