For the one million motorists who drive the Miami Dade Expressway (MDX) every year, the journey is getting easier. The MDX authority has been installing open toll gantries that automatically read car licence plates and passes, so drivers don’t have to stop or wait in line to pay a toll.
One of these gantries is now decorated with colour-changing light, with the help of fixtures from Iluminarc, installed by Barbizon Lighting Company.
Resembling an aircraft wing, the gantry and pylon structure spans ten lanes of one of the busiest sections of the expressway, the 15-mile State Route 836, or as locals know it, the Dolphin Expressway.
Thousands of motorists pass under the gantry every workday, and its soaring design is designed to lift their spirits a little. Adding to this is the richly coloured light that shines through the structure, thanks to 120 of Iluminarc’s Ilumiline 36 linear LED fixtures and 12 LED pods.
There are two rows of the Iluminarc fixtures on the gantry, on the upper and lower edges of the ‘wing’, creating a sense of depth.
‘When you drive by the toll and see the lights, it’s clearly impressive,’ said Barbizon Systems sales manager Drew Bongiorno. ‘The structure is skinned to look like the wing of a plane. It has holes in it to allow wind and water to pass. The Iluminarc fixtures are inside the wing so their light shines through the holes. It makes the whole structure come alive.
‘There are a lot very nice colour changes pre-programmed into the system. Of course the changes are subtle. Given that this structure is over an expressway you can’t have anything too jarring.’
Although the toll gantry projects an image of smoothness and fluidity, building it was anything but an easy ride. The wing structure was built on the ground in sections, and each time a section was completed, the Barbizon team would go to the site to programme the lights. Once the structure was assembled, the data lines were connected. It was over eight months from the start of the first section until the structure was completed.
The new gantry has generated a great deal of buzz among Miami-area motorists, says Bongiorno. ‘Many of our customers have asked me if I’ve seen the new toll gantry,’ he said. ‘When I tell them we did that project, they’re just very impressed. It feels good to all of us on the team that we were part of something that’s appreciated by so many people every day.’