Dec 27, 2022 12:20 AM

Great River Bridge halfway lit

Posted Dec 27, 2022 12:20 AM
Beacon File Phot
Beacon File Phot

Southside is done, and the north side is left to be completed as part of the lightscape project.

By Beacon Staff

The new lights on the south side of the Great River Bridge have finally been activated, thanks to the efforts of the Burlington Lightscape Project.

That leaves the north half-lit, which should happen in the spring of 2023.

Energyficient Systems, Inc. and Frank Millard and Company recently completed half of the project, which has been dedicated to Andrew Whitcomb of Dallas City, Ill., and Pearson Franklin of New London — the two men who lost their lives working on the bridge on Oct. 18.

The dedication was made with the approval of the families of both men.

“Our sympathies and prayers are with both families,” Burlington Lightscape said in a press release.

The lighting of the north half of the bridge will complete the project’s goal of lighting the bridge towers up brighter than ever before. Burlington Lightscape is currently organizing an opening celebration for the general public and donors to the project, and more details will be forthcoming.

Twelve years ago, the Burlington Lightscape Project — a board of community volunteers who wanted to highlight Burlington’s architecture by literally shining lights on it — lit up the St. John’s Catholic Church steeple to make it stand out against the starry sky.

It was the beginning of a much larger project that eventually expanded to the towers of the Great River Bridge.

In 2016, the Lightscape Project helped light nine other Burlington structures: Christ Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Majestic Estates (formerly St. Paul’s German Methodist Episcopal Church), First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, First Congregational Church, the Des Moines County Heritage Center Museum, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, and the Burlington Northern Locomotive on Main Street.

Since its inception, board members have talked about lighting up the Great River Bridge.  Energyficient president and CEO Chad Palmer said most of the lights aimed at the bridge tower haven’t been operational in roughly five years.

“It (the new lighting) will be very uniform, and it will be much brighter. It will be about twice as bright, which will be hard for folks to remember because it hasn’t been that bright in well over 10 years,” Palmer said.

Fundraising efforts have continued to increase the Lightscape endowment fund, which is processed through the Community Foundation of Des Moines County.