Fresh glow for Schuylkill crossings

The glorious clusters of globe lights installed on the Market Street Bridge to honor the new millennium are fully illuminated once again. So too are the lights lining the arch beneath the Market Street and SEPTA bridges over the Schuylkill River. And there’s more to come.

Lights above and below the Walnut and Market Street bridges, JFK Boulevard Bridge, and SEPTA’s bridge to 30th Street Station are being repaired, restored, and upgraded with more energy-efficient systems by Schuylkill River Development Corporation this summer thanks to a state RACP grant awarded in 2012 for just under $1 million.

Included in the millennium bridge project, new lights were installed in the arches below the Market Street and SEPTA bridges, streetlamps went on Walnut and Market street bridges, LED rope lighting was put under the Walnut Street Bridge, fluorescent lights were put under the sidewalk on the Chestnut Street Bridge, and flood lighting was added along SEPTA’s bridge. All of that needed attention.

“Over the last 12 years or so those [lighting systems] deteriorated either because of flooding or storms,” said Lane Fike of Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC). Half the lights were out, he estimated.

“The thought was to come back and upgrade it but do a retrofit with LED lights… to get more light for the buck,” Fike said.

But there are other benefits too. For example, the new lighting at Walnut Street can be better controlled, which will help reduce the amount of light interference during Schuylkill Banks movie nights.

Work should continue for a month or so longer. But the upgrades can already be seen on the Market Street Bridge and the arching lights and LED flood lights illuminating the bottom SEPTA’s bridge have been installed on the eastern span.

The Chestnut Street Bridge lighting was left out of this project, Fike said, because PennDOT plans to re-deck that bridge a few years from now.

Here’s a look at work to date as documented by Schuylkill River Development Corporation:

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