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Lights on Bridge Are Work in Progress

The light design project needs funding, and a planning meeting is in the wings.

Plans are moving forward to put the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge up in lights—but don't expect to see the dazzle anytime soon.

The Port of San Diego and Caltrans must first schedule a meeting to outline the next steps and develop a project timeline for construction and completion.

Caltrans operates the bridge and is working in partnership on the project with the Port.

So far, no meeting dates or project timeline has been set, said Yvonne Wise, the Port's public art director.

The lighting design calls for illumination powered by wind turbines and colors that change to mark holidays and events, such as Chargers games.

Wise said the public art design will liven the region, while attracting new visitors to the area.

"The signature artwork will be an artistic statement that will create a sense of place and draw people to the region," Wise said. "The project will also reflect the agency's commitment to sustainable development."

But the project can't really get moving until several million dollars in funding is raised.

Early estimates for the project run between $4 million to $5 million and is expected to be funded through grants and private donations.

No money has trickled in yet, but once enough funding is secured, feasibility studies on the project's design will be conducted, Wise said.

The famous bridge spans just over two miles and is the curving link between San Diego and Coronado.

In 2007, the Port's public art committee set a goal to create a signature art piece for the region and chose the Coronado Bay Bridge as its landmark.

The Port spent $50,000 on its international design search.

Last month, an art selection panel chose the eco-friendly, winning design, after poring through 87 submissions and narrowing the finalists to three.

The winning team is made up of London-based artist Peter Fink of FoRM Associates in collaboration with United Kingdom architectural firm Speirs and Major Associates and engineering consultant Buro Happold, who has an office in New York.

Fink said the design will give the bridge a unique identity after dark and help solidify San Diego as a city committed to green technology.

"The poetry of the Coronado Bridge in its daytime will be contrasted with a transformative new night appearance that will add a totally different experiential dimension to the structure," Fink said.

"We believe that a public art project of this scale has a responsibility to be sustainable, setting an example using 'green technology' to both minimize energy consumption and to promote San Diego's forward-thinking attitude," he added.

Fink, who has innovative designs worldwide from New York and Shanghai, says the Coronado Bridge project is one of his favorites.

"The scale and its spectacular bay location" add to its appeal, Fink said.

Peter Terezakis January 18, 2011 at 05:20 AM
Aside from being a colossal waste of money, this spectacle of excess is far from being either "eco-friendly" or "sustainable." This project is a great example of another agency with far too much money being out of touch with the concerns at hand. Let's see the Port of San Diego put the "$4 million to $5 million dollars" to work on cleaning up the water and tidelands around Coronado. Put that money to work in the battle to save our besieged tidal areas - that would be money well INVESTED in the future of the area. SPENDING $5 MILLION DOLLARS to have a UK-based lighting design firm decorate the Coronado Bridge reminds me of the sale of Duke Cunningham's house.

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