Pittsburgh’s 3 Sister Bridges to get permanent LED light installations – TribLIVE
A temporary lighting display on Pittsburgh’s Rachel Carson Bridge from several years ago was so popular and memorable that Allegheny County officials have decided to make a similar project permanent, and bring artistic lights to all three of the city’s Sister Bridges.
The Roberto Clemente Bridge, Andy Warhol Bridge and Rachel Carson Bridge will have tens of thousands of LED lights installed on their towers and suspension cables. The installation of 601,440 color LED lights across the three bridges that connect Downtown Pittsburgh to the North Shore will begin in September with the Rachel Carson Bridge.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he expects the $6 million installation to be complete in December 2023 on all three bridges. The lighting installations come on the heels of all three of the bridges receiving multimillion dollar rehabs. The Roberto Clemente Bridge is currently undergoing its rehab and is scheduled to be finished by December 2023.
“These lights will be very noticeable and very impactful for our beautiful city,” Fitzgerald said Thursday at a news conference overlooking the bridges at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Pittsburgh 3 sister bridges are getting permanent LED light installations to display different colors & light sequences to promote civic pride. Allegheny County Exec said bridges could be orange for Halloween or Black and Gold for sporting events, like Steelers games. Video below pic.twitter.com/ku5go185jc
— Ryan Deto (@RyanDeto) August 31, 2022
Allegheny County government manages and maintains the sister bridges and Fitzgerald said his office was inspired by the temporary light installation that ran on the Rachel Carson Bridge from 2016 through 2018. He said this new installation is working with the same firm, Michael Baker International, to implement the lighting.
Fitzgerald said the LED lights will be able to display different colors for different times of year, and will have sequenced lighting for artistic effect. He said similar projects have been completed on the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia and the George Washington Bridge in New York City.
Todd Wilson, board member of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, said the project is about appreciating the historic bridges, which he said were the first of their kind when constructed between 1925 and 1928.
“We are so excited to have this vision of lighting the bridges become a reality,” said Wilson. “It will build pride in this city.”
Fitzgerald expects orange for Halloween, green and red for Christmas, and even black and gold for sporting events like Pittsburgh Steelers football games.
The federal government is funding 80% of the $6 million project, and PennDOT is contributing a 15% match. The county is providing the remaining 5% and Fitzgerald said the county will pay to operate the lights in perpetuity. The maximum cost to power both the street lighting and the LED lighting on all three Sister Bridges at 100% brightness for 12 hours will be about $193 a day, according to county officials.
The original, temporary project was powered by small windmills that were installed on the Rachel Carson Bridge. Fitzgerald said the permanent project will be powered through the electrical grid, but noted that county facilities will be powered by hydroelectric generators at the Emsworth Dam.
And although the total project is expected to be finished by the end of 2023, Fitzgerald said he expects lighting on the Rachel Carson Bridge and the Andy Warhol Bridge to be illuminated before then.
Ryan Deto is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact …….