The Broadway Bridge, if not all its connecting ramps, is open and the highway department has announced a dedication ceremony for 4 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of Dickey-Stephens Stadium in North Little Rock, a few hours before the first Arkansas Travelers game of the season.
So then, several have asked: Will the new bridge — with the $20 million add-on of arches to dress up its look — have lighting commensurate with the three bridges downriver that have become a popular light show controlled by the Little Rock Conventions and Visitors Bureau?
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Answer: Good question.
Said a highway department spokesman:
There are plans for lighting the Broadway Bridge; however I will refer you to both cities and the county on implementation and cost. It is my understanding the Department has included installation of some conduit to facilitate LEDs (at the expense of the county). But we are not otherwise involved in that effort.
As for the roadway and the shared use path, BOTH of those will be illuminated with traditional street lighting. At this time, power has not been connected to the bridge.
Gretchen Hall, director of the visitors bureau, said it would be easy to tie in an LED lighting scheme on the bridge with the existing displays, but it’s not in her budget to wire the new bridge. She said the cost would be significant. Entergy contributed $2 million to the lighting on the three bridges now in place.
An Entergy spokesman said: “There are no plans that I’m aware of to add lights at this point. We helped fund the installation but the city maintains them. Have you checked with the city?”
A city of Little Rock spokesman said: “I’m working on the answer. I or someone higher up will get back to you soon?”
I also sought a comment from County Judge Barry Hyde. I was promised a followup.
I guess I haven’t shed much light.
UPDATE FROM CITY OF LR:
Entergy provided the majority funding for the other three bridges, though the Broadway Bridge was not included. We want to see lights on the Broadway Bridge and we are having internal and external discussions to assess cost and to research funding sources.
UPDATE FROM PULASKI COUNTY:
Currently the County does not have plans and simply does not have the funds to light the bridge. It is our understanding that the City of Little Rock is exploring ways to fund the lighting.