When it came to designing the lighting of the New NY Bridge, the project team’s strategy was twofold: accentuate the architectural features of the iconic crossing while at the same time respecting the context in which it is built: the historic Hudson Valley. To achieve this balance—while also maintaining high standards of efficiency and safety—the team engaged Domingo Gonzalez Associates, (DGA) a leading architectural lighting design firm based in New York City.
DGA developed the new bridge’s sophisticated lighting plan after considering a wide variety of factors and examining how the future structure would present itself to drivers, pedestrians and neighbors who live along the Hudson. Many different tools were used to develop the design approach, culminating in digital representations of the bridge that capture its night-time appearance.
How the bridge, river and land relate to each other also played a major role in the lighting plan. During development of the lighting design, DGA consulted with the project’s Visual Quality Panel which is composed of local community leaders and design professionals.
The design mitigates the potential for glare while ensuring the bridge is safely lit for drivers and other bridge users. The design team carefully determined mounting heights and aiming angles for the fixtures and even designed custom shielding for the lighting in some locations. The roadway lighting utilizes dark-sky compliant versions of LED light fixtures to reduce the light pollution traditionally found with conventional roadway light fixtures.
The highly efficient LED system will also use an estimated 75 percent less energy compared to traditional lighting technology.
In addition to how the lighting will serve those who cross the bridge, the safety of air and water traffic were significant priorities. To that end, the project team worked with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies to ensure the bridge’s lighting plan met their strict standards.
The lighting for the roadway, bridge structure and the shared-use path will utilize Philips Lighting’s light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. Many of these fixtures have a projected 100,000-hour lifespan, roughly triple the lifespan of conventional lamps. LED lighting also offers substantial long-term energy savings when compared with the more commonly used high-intensity discharge lights. Further, the use of LEDs allow the ability for the bridge structure lighting to select light colors and intensities that minimize the biological impact on plants and animals.
The future maintenance of lighting components also impacted the design. DGA selected roadway and shared-use path lighting units with long-life spans, which can be replaced quickly and without needing major equipment or large work crews. Similarly, the bridge’s structural lighting fixtures are designed to make maintenance as simple as possible by utilizing just two types of LEDs.
The state-of-the-art lighting control system will allow the New York State Thruway Authority to easily control the bridge’s structural lighting and brightness. Each lighting unit will have the ability to change color on command, enabling fixed or changing light displays on special occasions and holidays.
With over 25 years of experience in lighting some of New York’s most prominent landmarks, DGA has devised a contextually sensitive lighting plan for the New NY Bridge that will create a dramatic visual landmark while respecting its surroundings.