It has been almost a decade since the Board of Port Commissioners first decided on a lighting design concept to illuminate the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. The California Coastal Commission approved a new phase on Thursday that will bring the project one step closer to completion.
This coming year, a temporary test-version of the proposed LED lighting design will be mounted to the bridge, the Port of San Diego said Thursday. They aim to test the project around June 2020, spokesperson Brianne Page confirmed.
Over a seven-day period from twilight to midnight, the test LED lights will illuminate four of the bridge’s piers located near its center. This will be the first time lights are mounted to the bridge over water. A preliminary test in April involved lights attached to two piers over land.
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When completed, the 30 supporting concrete bridge piers will be illuminated with programmable LED lighting units, designed by London-based artist Peter Fink.
“Our vision for this project is to inspire and connect people to San Diego Bay through the fusion of art and technology,” said Commissioner Marshall Merrifield.
The city of Coronado said they have been kept in the loop regarding the project's progress and added, "While the City of Coronado does not have a vote on this project, we hope any enhancements will be met with an equal level of advocacy to install permanent suicide deterrents to save lives and improve traffic flow in the South Bay region," Coronado City Mayor Richard Bailey told NBC 7.
The project is being managed between the Port of San Diego and Caltrans and will be funded through donations equaling up to $16 million, officials said. They estimate the installation will begin in 2022 with a final completion date in 2023.
The testing phase began in 2017 when the Board of Port Commissioners authorized various agreements including one with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, Inc., the project design team’s engineering consultant.
NBC 7 reported in 2016 the project had been put on hold for the past few years due to a lack of funding. One business, BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, donated $300,000 to the "feasibility plan" phase of the project in August 2016.
"The Port is being proactive in designing an installation that will be compliant with all pertinent environmental requirements, as well as enduring sustainability through the use of renewable energy sources. The bridge lighting project is currently in the midst of Phase 2 in which the objectives are to update and refine the design, obtain environmental clearance through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, and acquire all applicable agency approvals and entitlements," spokeswoman Brianne Page told NBC 7.