"M" Bridge May Get New Lights Soon


Last year an anonymous donor gave $12 million to the city to upgrade the lights on the Harahan Bridge and the Hernando DeSoto Bridge.

While the Harahan has been lit for some time, the "new bridge," or the "M bridge" may get its turn soon.

An application was submitted this week to the Downtown Memphis Commission's Design Review Board for the project.

Details are below but feast thine eyes on what engineers at Phillips have planned.




If you want more details, here's the project summary submitted to the DRB this week:

"Project overview – This lighting concept proposal modernizes the iconic Hernando De Soto Bridge with dramatic, color changing LED lighting and state of the art controls.

Recognized across the region for its sweeping “M” shaped superstructure accented with 196 individual light points, the Hernando De Soto has marked time and space for Memphis and its visitors across four decades. The Hernando De Soto’s contribution to pop culture in Memphis is ubiquitous.

Philips’ acknowledges and appreciates the importance of this bridge to Memphis’ culture and brand. We are very proud to partner with the city and its stakeholders to preserve and enhance this civic treasure.

Philips’ goal with this modernization is to stay true to the original design of individual light points so that the integrity of the iconic “M” shape can be maintained while the bridge is “at rest”.

As a practical matter this upgrade to LED is timely. The legacy lighting in place on the bridge is beginning to fail and is quite expensive to maintain. A wholesale retrofit to LED and controls not only makes practical sense, it also aligns with the city’s desire to embrace and implement sustainable technology solutions that attract and enhance economic development.

A custom fixture assembly has been designed by Philips Lighting applications engineers specifically for use on this project so that the “light point” concept can be maintained with similar luminous intensity when the bridge is illuminated in “warm white” mode (default).

Philips’ design will assure that this improvement to LED stays true to the current, classic lighting design of individual light points. To create additional impact, the bridge support cables will be illuminated using strands of color changing direct view LED nodes.

Furthermore, in an effort to strike a balance with its neighbor to the south, the superstructure of the Hernando Desoto will incorporate floodlighting similar to the Harahan Bridge. The implementation of these two additional lighting concepts to the bridge will help to flatter the unique architectural features of the bridge and create a bold canvas to bring the bridge to life during special events.

Customizable lighting content based on event calendar will be implemented to complement The Big River Crossing/Harahan. (These themes and concepts include but are not limited to *default/warm white, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Christmas, Hannukah, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mardi Gras, Pride Week, Cancer Awareness, Autism Awareness, Earth Day and many others)."

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Add a comment