Lighting change under review

Published 9:49 am Tuesday, June 9, 2015

In about a month those who want to put some flash on the new Ironton-Russell Bridge will know if their wish will turn into an Ohio Department of Transportation command.

More than a week ago Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship met with Vaughn Wilson, deputy director of District 9, ODOT, to see about the feasibility of putting colored LED lights on the bridge being constructed upriver from the current structure.

“I think if we have a different type of lighting it will be a showcase for southern Ohio,” Blankenship said. “We have a brand new state of the art bridge. To showcase it more will have that lighting. People will remember that.”

Now it is up to Figg Engineering of Florida, the design consultant firm on the bridge construction.

“The design contractors are investigating the options that might be available and get back with costs and what would be the time frame and not be cost prohibitive,” Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for District 9, ODOT, said.

Right now the plan is to put white glow lights along the cables of the bridge slated to be completed by the summer of 2016.

“As we get closer to getting the structure completed and the deck together and start doing the cabling, we want to make sure if we make any changes we start the ball rolling,” Fuller said. “Everyone will have to give their blessings. The design contractors will look at what the parameters are for LED lighting. They won’t submit something that wouldn’t get approved.”

The lights, no matter the color, will be along the deck, along the parapet wall, on the points where the cable goes down to the deck and back up.

“It is a standard feature for cable-stay bridges,” Fuller said.

Adding color is a new possibility, along with using LED lights. There are certain colors that can’t be installed , however, as they conflict with Federal Highway Administration and Coast Guard stipulations.

“LEDs are more expensive, but LEDs are going to last a lot longer,” she said.

Figg Engineering expected to come up with possible proposals by the end of this month or the first part of July. Those will then be presented to Wilson.

“He will run it up to Columbus and it will go from there,” Fuller said. “As people sign off on that, it will keep going up further.”

Despite navigational restrictions there are enough color options to make the change effective.

“The state has a budget that they want to remain in and we can pick what we can,” Blankenship said. “We can all come to an agreement when we find out what colors we can use. We can eliminate from there.”