Design set to begin for new Crescent City Connection lighting
Friday, March 03, 2023 at 2:31:33 PM
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announces a tasking to Modjeski and Masters, Inc. (M&M) to design a new decorative lighting system for the Crescent City Connection bridges in New Orleans. The design is for controllable and programmable LED lights on the trusses of the bridges, along with lights illuminating the piers. The contract includes, but is not limited to, plans, specifications and special provisions, construction estimates, illumination analysis, and engineering calculations for replacement of the existing decorative lighting system.

“As a child, I watched the construction of the second span of the Crescent City Connection bridge, an iconic symbol of New Orleans that has lost its ability to reflect against the night sky,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “As one of my last actions as secretary, I am proud to initiate new LED technology that will allow us to showcase the bridge like never before, while at the same time moving to a technology that uses a fraction of the energy to run. Equally important, working with New Orleans & Company and the convention and tourism industry, we are introducing a new model of sustainable operations.”

The design phase is the fifth of six parts of a standard DOTD project. The final phase, construction, is scheduled to be let later this year and completed by the end of 2024. DOTD estimates the construction phase to cost $16.5 million.

M&M, a Pennsylvania-based firm that specializes in bridges, has a storied history within Louisiana, including the design of the Crescent City Connection and the Huey P. Long bridges.

The original decorative lighting system was installed in 1987, a gift of the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans through a major capital fundraising campaign. The system, maintained by DOTD, started showing signs of age by 2010 as insulation around electrical wires began deteriorating from sunlight and weather. The vulnerability of the electrical system made gaps in the lines more and more frequent.

Eventually, damage from Hurricane Ida created electrical system surges that resulted in the immediate shortage of replacement bulbs. The only options that remained were the reconstruction of an outdated electrical grid or the complete overhaul to a new technology.

“The lighting of the trusses is a powerful image known across the world, especially for holidays, sporting events, and the many festivals hosted in the city,” said Wilson. “It’s time to illuminate the New Orleans sky again so residents, businesses, and visitors can appreciate the beauty of the Crescent City Connection and the character of New Orleans.”

Artist’s rendering of the programmable lights on the Crescent City Connection