CA: Big River Crossing lights displayed

CA: Big River Crossing lights displayed

The newly created non-profit company overseeing lighting on the Harahan Bridge boardwalk plans to have the so-called Big River Crossing bathed in “architectural white” most days, but with more than a billion colors in the group’s palette, holidays and special events will be occasions for brilliant, dynamic displays.

On Sunday evening, a day after the $18 million bicycle-pedestrian boardwalk on the 100-year-old rail span opened to the public, Memphis Bridge Lighting Inc. ran through a series of displays planned for more than a half dozen holidays, as well as cancer-awareness events and patriotic occasions. Officials involved with the Big River Crossing said they were impressed.

“It looks fantastic — I was just amazed. The lights were better than I expected them to be,” said Paul Morris, project director for the Main to Main Intermodal Connector Project, a $40 million initiative that links the downtowns of Memphis and West Memphis and includes the boardwalk.

The illumination of the bridge with more than 100,000 LED light points cost $6.2 million, all funded by private donors who asked not to be identified, said Charles Newman, general counsel for Memphis Bridge Lighting, as well as the Big River Strategic Initiative and a group called Mississippi River Rising Inc.

“It has been agreed” that the board of Memphis Bridge Lighting will be in charge of maintaining and operating the lights, Newman said. He identified the board members as Todd Richardson, co-leader of the development team for the Crosstown Concourse project; George Monger, vice president and executive director of The Consortium MMT; Downtown Memphis Commission President Terence Patterson, Urban Art Commission Executive Director Lauren Kennedy and Webb Wilson, grandson of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson and an early backer of efforts to light the bridge,

The board will have at its disposal another $1.5 million provided by the donors to operate the lights on the Harahan and the new lights that officials hope to install on the Hernando DeSoto bridge in the future.

The non-profit firm will work with Philips Lighting, which installed the system on the Harahan and can operate it wirelessly from any number of locations.

On 300-plus days a year, the bridge will be lit with architectural white, an off-white color, until midnight. From then until dawn, the span will change hues to “midnight amber.”

CA: Big River Crossing lights displayed

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