(Cy Musiker -- San Francisco, KQED) It will be sparkly. Lighting technicians and workers are closing a lane on San Francisco's iconic Bay Bridge each evening this week to install 25,000 LEDs on the cables on the north side of the bridge's suspension span.
The work is part of an art project to honor the bridge's 75th anniversary.
"What happens is crews go up in the middle of the night and hang down the side of the bridge and attach up to 500 LEDs each evening, per shift," says Ben Davis, chairman of Illuminate the Arts, the group that's installing the lights. According to the group's website, "the Bay Lights is the world’s largest light sculpture, 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high...[it will be] a monumental tour de force seven times the scale of the Eiffel Tower’s 100th Anniversary lighting."
"And the progress is just going great," says Davis. "We're over 10 percent complete, and we're completely on track for a grand lighting ceremony." That ceremony is scheduled for March 5, 2013.
Davis has raised $5.7 million dollars so far for the $8 million dollar project.
The lighting design is by light artist Leo Villareal, famous for his work at Burning Man and in museums around the world. Davis says the project will bring attention to a bridge often overlooked for its more glamorous partner.
"I just about have an orgasm when I ride my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge." Davis said, "But I, like a lot of people here, have a really deeper love almost for the Bay Bridge, and its great to see this hard-working and really elegant bridge shine again in our consciousness."
The lighting project will be up for at least two years. It's not in time for this year's 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge. But it will be finished in time for next year's America's Cup, and the completion of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.
Read more over at KQED.