Blatnik Bridge lights up after two years in the dark

By KBJR News 1

October 25, 2013 Updated Oct 25, 2013 at 8:24 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Two years and nearly 13 million dollars later, the Blatnik Bridge construction project between Duluth and Superior is complete and now the lights are back on.

Northland and state leaders along with MnDOT engineers switched the light on to the Blatnik bridge during the Turn on the Lights ceremony, marking the end of the construction project.

Different from the former lighting system, the new lights decorate the bridge from the inside-out, with a soft wash of light.

While the bulk of the bridge work focused on improving the structural integrity, months of planning went into the redesign of the new LED lighting system.

The lighting design team included representatives from Minnesota Power, Superior Power and Light and both Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation.

MnDOT officials say the new system has many advantages over the original including; an almost 60 percent energy savings, reduced glare for motorists, along with increased protection from snow and roadway salt spray.

Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon helped bring back the lights to the Blatnik and said the new system is a cost-saving measure.

"We've moved down from 216 bulbs to 90 bulbs and the cost is significantly less than before, besides these light bulbs will last for fifteen years," said Lt., Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon.

Both Minnesota and Wisconsin transportation departments each paid half of the total construction costs.

Jeremy Brickley
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