New York's bridges to get multi-million dollar LED facelift

The George Washington Bridge, one of the most famous bridges in New York City, will get an LED overhaul as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to revitalise New York's river crossings.

New York City's iconic Hudson River bridges are set to undergo an LED make-over, in a move that mirrors London's 'Illuminated River' project to revolutionise its own river-scape.

Nine New York bridges will receive an LED overhaul during the first phase of the $500 million project, ranging from the Henry Hudson Bridge in the Bronx to the Crossbay Veterans Memorial Bridge in the Rockaways.

It is planned that the new lighting schemes will be able to be programmed to salute historic moments, sporting events and national occasions such as the Fourth of July. 

This mirrors the Empire State Building and One World Trade Centre which already use their lighting schemes to salute major events, such as the election of a new president on the conclusion of a Super Bowl.

New York’s bridges will join the The Big River Crossing in Memphis, the Leonard P. Zakim–Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, the Big Four Bridge in Louisville, and the Little Rock Bridges in Little Rock, Arkansaw, to embrace light shows.

It had been previously announced that Philips Lighting would supply interconnected LED-based lighting, and controls technology for the new Tappan Zee Bridge that is currently under construction in New York's Hudson River Valley, but the new announcement, from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, marks a significant widening of the project. 

Under the Governor's plan, New York will also redesign tunnel plazas with cutting-edge veils equipped with LED capability, as well as introducing state-of-the-art automatic toll booths.

The New York Crossings Project will include Whitestone Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, RFK Triborough Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Hugh L. Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge. The coordinated lighting plan will also include the George Washington Bridge, which is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The New Tappan Zee Bridge in Westchester in upstate New York is expected to be completed in 2018 and will be lit using LED from Philips.

The NY bridge lighting plan was inspired by earlier New York building projects, which were conceived not only as practical additions to the city, but as public art works, such as the New York State Capitol, Grand Central Terminal, the original Penn Station and the Central Mall Mosaics at Jones Beach. 

It is expected that the new LED lighting will use 40 to 80 percent less power and last six times longer than other types of roadway lighting.

Termed 'The City That Never Sleeps' the dusk until dawn lighting schedule will illuminate  crossings with spectacular, multi-color light shows that will be visible for miles, with the hope of turning New York's bridges into international tourist attractions with the potential to drive additional tourism revenue. The LED installations are set to begin in January 2017.

The initial phase of London's own version of the New York bridge project will reach its final stage on Wednesday, when a winner will be announced of the 'Illuminated River' design competition, which will see all of London's major river crossings receive  a lighting revamp from the winning design agency. The schemes that are in the running can be seen here.