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New Bay Bridge Presents Challenges In Lighting Up Landmark

OAKLAND (CBS 5) - The new Bay Bridge is in the same league as the White House, the Statue of Liberty and Yankee stadium. They all have one thing in common - the lighting.

"I think it will be the most spectacularly lit bridge around," said Chris Berge, Vice President of Bleyco, the Castro Valley company tasked with lighting the bridge. "It hasn't been easy."

"When we bid this job, we thought that the lighting wouldn't be an issue at all. We later found out that the lighting was going to be a huge issue," continued Berge.

The bridge's advanced blend of functionality and art is so advanced, every other company turned the job down.

"I think nobody wanted the blame for a poorly lit bridge," Berge said."We're trying to get really good uniformity out here to a much higher standard than your average roadway."

Every part of the roadway is lit, which was the goal. To achieve that goal, Berge sought the help of Musco Lighting, the company that lit up Yankee stadium, the White House, and the Statue of Liberty.

But it was this item on Musco's resume that caught Berge's eye.

"When NASCAR wanted to light up racetracks to race at night, all the conventional lighting people said 'not possible'. You'll blind the drivers and everyone will crash. They proved it was possible, in fact they've done it."

Musco and Caltrans have pushed lighting technology to the next level. The new bridge will use 48,000 high-intensity LED lamps individually aimed to avoid glare for drivers.

LEDs use less energy and are predicted to last up to 15 years, compared to lamps on the western span, which have to be replaced every two years or so.

"I think it's going to be a much more even light out here. It actually makes it a lot safer," Berge said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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