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Bridge lighting coming Tuesday

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City officials are ready to flip the switch on the Second Street Bridge, relighting the city’s equivalent of a welcoming front porch light.

But this time, the lights will be multicolored, cheaper to operate and more resistant to vandals.

The city will conduct a bridge-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of the former Bartholomew County Senior Center, 148 Lindsey St. The ceremonial lighting — about 7:15 p.m. — will be done by children who won the mayor’s Christmas card contest, which featured a Second Street Bridge theme.

The bridge, built in 1999 over East Fork White River, went dark about 10 years ago when vandals destroyed the 42 metal-halide floodlights mounted on the pedestrian walkways on each side of the bridge. This time, the lighting consists of 12 LED lamps mounted on tall poles at each corner of the bridge.

Mayor Kristen Brown said City Engineer Dave Hayward had to come up with a plan that would:

  • Illuminate the bridge optimally.

Strike a balance between positioning lights where they wouldn’t get vandalized and minimizing the line of sight for traffic.

Part of that work included installing metal visors to keep drivers from being confused by the lights, which can illuminate the bridge in a rainbow of colors. Without the shades, drivers could see the actual lamps on the far side of the bridge and be distracted by them or mistake them for a traffic signal when the bridge is lit in green or red, Hayward said last month.

The color-switching lighting is computer controlled. On Tuesday, the city will run through a rainbow of lighting possibilities, Brown said.

She said the city has estimates from Duke Energy indicating that the cost to light the bridge will be about $200 a year.

“We are not adding a meaningful expense or consuming a meaningful amount of electricity to do this,” she said.

The cost for the lighting system was $135,600, which was paid from taxes collected in the tax-increment-financing district.

Meanwhile, the city is working on plans to light the Interstate 65 arch bridge over Jonathan Moore Pike. Early tests did not go as well as hoped because of the curvature of the bridge, Hayward said.

When it’s warmer, Brown said, “we are going to do another test and see if we can get it to the desired outcome.”

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