Pawtucket River Bridge will color the night with 'extraordinary flexibility'

Pawtucket River Bridge will color the night with 'extraordinary flexibility'

PAWTUCKET - The nighttime view of the new Pawtucket River Bridge will be unlike anything ever seen in Rhode Island, according to local and state officials.

Representatives from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation are promising an elaborate lighting system with an "extraordinary level of color-changing flexibility" to change the lights to go with the current holiday or special cause.

The lights on the new span will truly be something to behold, say DOT officials. The "standard look" for the bridge will be blue lights, but visitors will see red, white and blue for Independence Day, "crimson glory" for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, gold for Thanksgiving day, aqua for Columbus Day, forest green for Christmas, all-white for Victory Day and New Year's Day, apple green for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and all kinds of colors on Labor Day.

There will be lawn green for Pawtucket's famed St. Patrick's Day celebration, fuchsia on Valentine's Day, royal blue on Easter, pumpkin orange on Halloween, and rose pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Even the "ribs" of the four winged motif pylons at the four corners of the bridge can each be lighted separately, according to a presentation from the DOT, meaning the pylons themselves, which are easily visible to motorists on I-95 through Pawtucket, could be red, white and blue all at once.

Electric work on the new Pawtucket River Bridge is being completed by Rossi Electric, of Cranston. The relatively energy-efficient lighting system is all part of the original arts-inspired design formulated by the Pawtucket Bridge Design Committee. Workers are putting the finishing touches on the bridge and its lighting system this week and next.

An astronomical time clock will run the pre-programmed color changes yearly, according to the DOT.

The bridge's color-changing system provides 256 steps for each of three colors, red, blue and green, for a total of more than 16 million color possibilities. If changes are wanted after the initial pre-programming, DOT officials will be able to make changes remotely via computer.

The lighting on the bridge structure is grouped in 12-foot increments, allowing officials to create a "candy cane" effect with colors if they want to.

They'll also have the capability to put up different colors on the northbound and southbound sides of the bridge.