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Coronado Bay Bridge Lighting Receives Funding Boost

A preliminary conceptual rendering by Peter Fink of the Coronado Bay Bridge lighting project.
Port of San Diego
A preliminary conceptual rendering by Peter Fink of the Coronado Bay Bridge lighting project.

The long-awaited plan to artistically light the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge got a boost Tuesday with a $300,000 donation from BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, but more fundraising is needed for the project to move forward.

Port officials hope to have the lighting scheme ready for the span's 50th anniversary in 2019.

So far, a total of $460,000 has been raised, including a previous BAE Systems gift of $31,000 and a donation from the developers of new hotels at Broadway and Pacific Highway, or BRIC.

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"Lighting the iconic San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge will add inspiration and beauty to the region's landscape," port Chairman Marshall Merrifield said.

"This contribution from BAE Systems combines with a recent contribution from the development team of BRIC on the Lane Field site, both Port of San Diego tenants, to get us started on the design and engineering needed to implement the project," Merrifield said.

A memorandum of understanding between the port and Caltrans, which has jurisdiction over the bridge, requires that the project be paid for with private money, and for the next phase of development — a feasibility and environmental study — to be fully funded before it can begin. Port staff estimated the cost of the studies to be at least $750,000.

The memorandum also requires the studies to be complete before the next phases — final planning and installation — can be performed.

The report estimates the total cost of the project to be $6 million to $8 million.

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According to port officials, the idea of illuminating the bridge with an artist-designed lighting scheme originated with the Public Art Committee, which 10 years ago sought to come up with a signature artwork for the bay. The port held a design competition, and in 2010, the Board of Commissioners approved the selection of a design team led by London-based artist Peter Fink.