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Coulee Dam bridge lighting to get big upgrade

 

The bridge over the Columbia River on SR-155 in Coulee Dam will get updated lighting next spring, when the lights along the sides of the 1930s-era bridge will be replaced with LED lamps, and the wiring and the covering globes will be replaced. - Jacob Wagner photo

The lights on the Coulee Dam bridge over the Columbia River will enter the 21st Century in the coming spring, when they will be updated from incandescent to LED lights.

"We're replacing all the wires that exist on the bridge, and the electrical service, so that the lights will function," said Robert Stull, the transportation engineer and electrical designer for the Washington State Department of Transportation office in Wenatchee. "And we're updating the lights to LED that should have a sort of yellow color that will match the incandescents installed in the 1930s."

Stull said LED (light-emitting diode) lights will last a lot longer than incandescents and will use a lot less power.

Stull also said they will be replacing the old-style globes over the lights, matching their current shape and style. "We found a replacement that is pretty much exact for the globe," he said.

"The town of Coulee Dam requested that we do this many years ago," Stull noted, "so DOT is doing this for Coulee Dam. Otherwise the DOT would have just abandoned it."

As more of the old lights on the bridge have gone dark over time, the topic has come up at town council meetings, where it has been noted that all the wiring on the bridge needed to be replaced due to aging and cracked insulation exposing bare wire.

The contract for the project is currently out to bid, and Stull anticipates the work taking about 35 days, starting sometime in May.

Stull said there will be one-lane road closures as they work on either side of the bridge.

The project is estimated to cost $240,000, including the engineering and the installation.

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