Decorative lights on I-10s New Bridge failing, leaving the bridge in the dark
BATON ROUGE – The iconic shimmer of lights from the New Bridge likely won’t be as shiny when the city celebrates Independence Day – also the 23rd anniversary of the decorative lights casting a brilliant spell over the Mississippi River.
The city, tasked with keeping the lights on after a Baton Rouge civic group raised the money to install them in the early-90s, needs double the budget for light maintenance to get the system working as it should. The city pays $30,000 a year to maintain the lights attached to the superstructure of the I-10 bridge over the river.
But, due to “unforeseen outages,” another $30,000 is needed to get the lights working again.
Forum 35 raised between $275,000 and $350,000 to have 114 lights installed on the Horace Wilkinson Bridge. About a quarter of the lights are out, city officials told WBRZ Tuesday.
The lights were turned on July 4, 1995, following WBRZ’s annual fireworks show on the river.
Since, the organization of young professionals has handed the maintenance of the lights over to the city-parish.
A city spokesperson said its contractor found issues with the lights recently.
“We have more problems with the existing lights which will be fixed or replaced,” the city said.
The additional $30,000 – which will expand the contract to a total of $60,000 – should help.
The Metro Council will be asked to approve the money shuffle at the July 25th meeting.
But, that’s only a band-aid. The entire system needs to be retooled.
Until the broken parts are fixed, numerous bulbs won’t shine – leaving dark holes in the light display on the bridge.
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