The Acosta Bridge in downtown Jacksonville will once again become a focal point at night as the Jacksonville Transportation Authority prepares to install new LED lighting.
The bridge had previously been known for its bright blue neon lights that were installed in 1999. The lights were were added when the Skyway extension to San Marco was built.
But they went dark in 2014 after Skyway maintenance personnel noticed an electrical wire hanging over the guideway, creating a safety risk. JTA said at the time the lighting was too expensive to repair.
In December, JTA’s board approved spending up to $2.6 million to replace the lighting, according to JTA Construction Director Andy Rodgers.
“One of the benefits of the LED system is that it offers capabilities - or color changing - so we're looking at the possibility of doing special events, [like the] Fourth of July, other things of that nature,” he said.
The new lights, which will use less than half the energy as the previous incarnation, can be lit in a nearly infinite amount of colors including combinations like red, white and blue, or single hues, like teal.
Miller Electric will be doing the design and build work. Rodgers said that’s the same company that recently worked on lighting the Main Street Bridge.
Rodgers said the city is working on some plans for lighting upgrades “throughout the area between the various bridges and some other areas downtown.” JTA is involved with the Acosta Bridge project because of the Skyway system but won’t be directly involved with lighting upgrades or repairs for the other downtown bridges.
The Acosta Bridge lighting project is expected to be complete around the summer of 2020.
JTA has been moving toward LED lighting for all projects, Rodgers said. Other LED lighting projects include the under-construction Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center, the new Greyhound station and LED upgrades to existing facilities.
As compared to a typical 60 Watt incandescent light bulb found in homes, an equivalent LED light will use just 10 watts and last about 25,000 hours, as compared to about 1,200 hours for a traditional bulb, according to The Simple Dollar.
The Simple Dollar estimated an average cost savings of $201 over the life of just one LED home light bulb when multiplied over 23 years.