‘Mighty Lights’ Headed for Hernando DeSoto Bridge


LED lights illuminate the Harrahan Bridge at Big River Crossing. - BIG RIVER CROSSING/FACEBOOK
  • Big River Crossing/Facebook
  • LED lights illuminate the Harrahan Bridge at Big River Crossing.

The Memphis riverfront is in for a "mighty" new light show.

The Hernando de Soto Bridge, known to some as the "M Bridge" or the "New Bridge," will get a new lighting package much like the Harrahan Bridge did in 2016. Nightly light shows on both bridges will combine for Mighty Lights.

The project "will synchronize and coordinate the Hernando de Soto bridge and Big River Crossing lighting to achieve dramatic effects that bookend the Mississippi River and highlight the entire riverfront in between," according to a Tuesday news release from Memphis Bridge Lighting Inc., the nonprofit responsible for lighting Big River Crossing.

  • Mighty Lights/Facebook

"A group of local visionaries worked to light the Hernando de Soto bridge in 1986 and it has become one of the city’s most recognizable icons," said Webb Wilson, Memphis Bridge Lighting board member. "The existing infrastructure needs replacement, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate our city’s bicentennial, than to build upon the existing lighting capabilities. Mighty Lights will bring together the expansive LED lighting capabilities of both bridges into one package.”
The entire Mighty Lights package will be unveiled to the public after sundown on Saturday, Oct. 27th in conjunction with the annual River Arts Fest. The festival will offer an expansive view of both bridges from its new location this year on Riverside Drive between Union and Jefferson Avenues. The festival will open its doors for free admission after 5 p.m. on Saturday.

But before the lights come on, much work has to be done and bridge work means lane closures on I-40. Construction begins in early June.

Here's the full rundown of the work from Memphis Bridge Lighting:

The project will first close two lanes of traffic on the westbound side of I-40 beginning June 4th for six days a week from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., concluding July 14th. Then, the project will close two lanes eastbound for six days a week, same hours per day, from July 16th to Aug. 25th.

Construction is summarized as follows:

June 4-July 14 | WESTBOUND I-40 Construction | Mondays-Saturdays | 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. July 16-August 25 | EASTBOUND I-40 Construction | Mondays-Saturdays | 6 p.m. – 6 a.m.

Current lights on the Hernando de Soto bridge will shut off during Philips’ construction period, outlined above, as the bulbs themselves are replaced.

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