|Bayonne Bridge patriotic lights|
By News Staff | October 23rd 2010 05:00 AM
Spanning the Kill Van Kull tidal strait and first opened in 1931, the Bayonne Bridge was the longest in the world until 1978 and is currently the fourth longest steel arch bridge in the world. Today it carries about 20,000 vehicles per day over its four lanes and it was dramatically blown up in the Steven Spielberg–directed 2005 movie “War of the Worlds”, starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning.
In 2002, inspired by the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, eight–year–old Veronica Granite from New Jersey began a petition drive to illuminate her hometown bridge with red, white and blue lights, having seen tricolor lighting atop the Empire State Building during a visit to Liberty State Park.
Her lobbying efforts inspired the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which maintains the Bayonne Bridge and, seven years later, the historic span that connects Bayonne, New Jersey, with Staten Island, New York, wore a necklace of red, white and blue LED lights custom designed by LEDtronics, Inc.
“When we initially showed the bridge Maintenance Group the LEDtronics 180–degree fixture that is used on the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles Harbor, they liked the concept but needed the light to be 360 degrees and in red, white and blue,” says Jeffrey Mizel of RF Industries East, the
representatives involved with the project.
So engineers set about designing a retrofit, mogul–base, 360–degree design, the project was completed, and the 1,675 feet of the main arch span
were illuminated with patriotic LED lighting.
The little girl, now a teenager, was inspired with what she saw.
Other than the Bayonne, the LEDtronics group have also lit the Vincent Thomas bridge and the South Capitol Street Bridge in Washington, D.C. There still
remain two other bridges to be retrofitted, as soon as a method for using 480 volts to power the LEDs is accommodated.