Edmonton’s High Level Bridge has lights…now what?

In case you missed it, here’s my recap of the light up that took place on Canada Day. Now that the lights are turned on, I had some questions about them, and I heard some common questions from others too. So I reached out to the Light the Bridge team for answers. Here’s what I found out!

High Level Bridge

When will the bridge be lit?

Every single night, 365 days a year. You can always go check out the lights at night!

What time do the lights come on and off?

It varies depending on the time of year. In the summer, they’ll come on later at night and turn off sooner. In the winter the lights will come on earlier in the evening, and may also be on in the early morning to brighten the commute. The City of Edmonton will control this, and the exact schedule is still being determined.

How are the colors/animations decided?

Right now the bridge lights seem to alternate from one solid color to another – green to blue to yellow to red, etc. For special events, the bridge may be lit differently (for instance, green and gold for an Eskimos game). The City of Edmonton’s Civic Events department has final say over the light colors and animations. In the future, individuals and organizations will be able to request special colors or animations – processes for that are being developed now.

Can the lights be used for advertising?

No. Not only was this a core principle established early on in the project, but the trellis structure of the bridge means there are no flat surfaces upon which words or ads could be placed. The bridge is not meant to be a billboard.

How can I find out what the colors on a given night are for?

I love the Tower Lights site for the Empire State Building in New York. You can always go and see what the colors meant for any given day. I understand the City will be creating a similar online tool so that you can see why the bridge is lit a certain way.

Where are the lights controlled from?

The lights are controlled from the City of Edmonton’s Network Operations Centre.

Who maintains the lights and pays for that maintenance?

The City of Edmonton will maintain the LED lights, just as they maintain all other lights on the bridge.

How much does it cost to light the bridge?

The annual electrical costs of running the new LED lights on the bridge are about the same annual costs as running 3-4 houses (assuming the lights are on an average of 7 hours every day).

Will the bridge contribute to light pollution?

Lights on the bridge are pointed downwards, and using LED lights allows the lights to be projected at specific points on the bridge, which minimizes the impact of light pollution. There is little to no light pollution.

I bought one or more bulbs, how can I find their location?

There’s a tool up on the Light the Bridge site now that lets you search for the location of your bulb(s) by last name, email address, or dedication. I bought two: one is light #3-1-6 (East Facing) and the other is light #4-4-56 (East Facing). You can also browse the lights manually and look at all the names and dedications. It’s a pretty neat collection of stories!

High Level Bridge

We’ve come a long way from the waterfall. Go check out the lights!

Recap: High Level Bridge light up on Canada Day

Thousands of Edmontonians lined the river valley on Canada Day to catch a glimpse of not only fireworks, but also the official light up of the High Level Bridge. The project was greenlit back in March when the necessary $2.5 million to purchase and install 50,000 LED bulbs on the bridge was successfully raised. Over the last month the lights were installed and tested in preparation for Canada Day.

Canada Day 2014

There were people everywhere last night – every path, ledge, and patch of grass was claimed by someone eager to see the lights and fireworks! Some folks brought chairs, others had blankets. There were lots of tripods and other camera setups.

Canada Day 2014

As the unveiling approached, singing of “O Canada” and chants of “CAN-A-DA!” could be heard all along River Valley Road. Finally, about five minutes past ten, the lights came on, and a couple minutes later, the fireworks began!

Canada Day 2014

Here’s the official video from Light the Bridge, with music performed by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The music was broadcast live on CKUA.

There was a lot of cheering, oohing, and ahhing as the lights came on. For about two minutes they danced across the bridge, giving us a glimpse of what can be done in the future.

Canada Day 2014

I was cautiously optimistic about how the lights would look, especially as I don’t feel the lights on the ATB Tower downtown look that great. Color me impressed though, they look great! Mayor Iveson, Dave Mowat, and others have been talking about how this could be our postcard photo, and now having seen the lights, I can see what they mean.

Canada Day 2014

It’ll be interesting to see how they light the bridge in the future. We’ve heard that it could be green and gold for the Eskimos, copper and blue for the Oilers, and evidently, rainbow colored for Pride!

Canada Day 2014

Congratulations to Dave Mowat and everyone at ATB, David Stevens and the folks at EPCOR, Tammy Pidner and the team at EEDC, and everyone else who worked hard to make this project a reality!

If you want to buy a bulb, you have until July 11 to do so. If you already bought one, head over to the website to find the location of yours. You can follow Light the Bridge on Twitter for updates.