After over a decade in the dark, the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge has come alive with a new advanced LED lighting system from Philips Color Kinetics (PCK). Inspired by the 2010 United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) where he learned about the benefits and applications of LED lighting, forward-thinking Corpus Christi Mayor Joe Adame has worked with Philips, the global leader in LED lighting, to turn the 60-year-old bridge into a signature attraction for the city. The new lighting system is not only energy-efficient, it can be easily programmed to create different light shows, helping to boost tourism, one of the city’s main sources of income.
With its steel truss spanning 620 feet and sitting 138 feet above the ship channel, the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge is now a prominent display in the city’s skyline. The bridge, originally built in the 1950s, serves as a gateway to the city, but much of the bridge’s prior lighting system had been corroded by the severe environmental factors of the Gulf Coast, including extreme heat, harsh winds, and salt water. To evaluate LED lighting systems and ensure the technology was economically and technologically viable, the Mayor enlisted the help of Naismith Engineering and Spectrum Lighting, which tested lighting fixtures from several companies that were pre-programmed with 4th of July shows.
The PCK system was not only easy to install, its light output was four-times the intensity of competing products. The city originally funded two smaller pilot projects with PCK lighting on wind vanes in the downtown area and on the local amphitheater to ensure the system could withstand the harsh Gulf Coast environment. Funding for the project came from the Texas Department of Transportation, the Port, the city of Corpus Christi and a generous donation from American Bank.
“As a Mayor, you are always looking for ways to take advantage of technologies that can enhance your city and create a sense of community, while also trying to be fiscally responsible,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Joe Adame. “With Philips LED lighting, I saw an opportunity to take a landmark like the Harbor Bridge and turn it into a showcase that Corpus Christi could be proud of, and one that has had a positive economic effect. It wasn’t just about acquiring the most advanced LED technology; I wanted to ensure that the city of Corpus Christi was getting a quality product from a reputable company that could withstand the test of time.”
Since it was relit in December, the bridge has become a local attraction, creating buzz around Corpus Christi and surrounding areas, as well as increasing local business. With lightshows that change monthly, locals and tourists eagerly anticipate to see the new displays. In fact, hospitality businesses near the bridge, such as restaurants and hotels, sell out on a regular basis and require at least a one month advanced reservation.
“Mayor Adame clearly understood the value of public-private relationships and the impact of re-lighting the bridge, but more importantly, he took the time to understand the available technologies, selecting the one that could best fulfill his vision for the city,” Zia Eftekhar, CEO of Philips Lighting North America. “At Philips, we have lit some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and understand the importance of these structures to their local communities. Lighting technologies need to create more than light, they need to create value and enhance people’s lives in a meaningful way, while being environmentally friendly. The Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge is a perfect example of this.”
For more information on this project, or on Philips Color Kinetics, please visit www.colorkinetics.com.