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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Electrician will climb the New Bridge to fix lighting issue

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BATON ROUGE – A stoic electrician will have to climb the New Bridge to check the electrical system that has caused outages of the decorative lights over the river.

For weeks, there have been sporadic black holes in the shimmering lights attached to the I-10 bridge structure. Last month, the city said “unforeseen outages” required additional maintenance.

A contractor recently reported to city officials, the lighting grid is in need of a serious upgrade.

“We have more problems with the existing lights which will be fixed or replaced,” the city said.

Wednesday, the Metro Council approved spending up to $60,000 to get the issues fixed – or as close to it as possible. Eventually, the entire system will need to be retooled.

The city usually budgets about $30,000 for the lights.

An electrical contractor from New Orleans will be in Baton Rouge soon to climb the bridge and, like Christmas tree lights, check each bulb for issues. There are 114 fixtures on the bridge.

The road deck sits 175 feet above the water.  The metal superstructure is another 165 feet above the road surface. 

The decorative lights are attached to the superstructure and are maintained by the city of Baton Rouge. The lights were originally installed in the early-90’s after the civic group Forum 35 raised between $275,000 and $350,000 for the lights. The lights were turned on on July 4, 1995, following WBRZ’s annual fireworks show on the river.

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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