Get Down Memphis
Posted on 5/30/2018

Memphis Bridge Lighting Inc., the nonprofit that orchestrated the dynamic Philips LED lighting package on Big River Crossing in October 2016, is proud to introduce Mighty Lights, a nightly attraction that combines the lighting of both the Big River Crossing and soon-to-be re-illuminated Hernando de Soto bridges.

Since its unveiling in 2016, the lighting design of Big River Crossing has received international recognition from the Athens, Greece-juried American Architecture Award and the Waterfront Center Design Excellence Award. The design has been featured in Fast Company for its correlation between lighting installations and greater economic development.

“The lighting installation on Big River Crossing has been an exciting addition to the nighttime riverfront experience and a huge success in terms of engaging the community and bringing more attention to all of the great things happening downtown,” said Webb Wilson, Memphis Bridge Lighting, Inc. board member. “Memphis has been recognized globally as a leader in the lighting activation category and Big River Crossing has become a top local tourism attraction with well over 300,000 visitors since opening. A group of local visionaries worked to light the Hernando de Soto bridge in 1986 and it has become one of the city’s most recognizable icons. The existing infrastructure needs replacement, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate our city’s bicentennial, then to build upon the existing lighting capabilities. Mighty Lights will bring together the expansive LED lighting capabilities of both bridges into one package.”

Bridge Lights

Mighty Lights, which can introduce millions of dynamic colors and pattern designs, will synchronize and coordinate the Hernando de Soto bridge and Big River Crossing lighting to achieve dramatic effects that bookend the Mississippi River and highlight the entire riverfront in between. Additionally, Hernando de Soto’s new lighting will be visible from both South and North viewpoints, including Harbor Town.

Hernando de Soto construction begins in early June. The project will first close two lanes of traffic on the westbound side of I-40 beginning June 4 for six days a week from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., concluding July 14. Then, the project will close two lanes eastbound for six days a week, same hours per day, from July 16 to August 25.

Construction is summarized as follows:

June 4-July 14 | WESTBOUND I-40 Construction | Mondays-Saturdays | 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. 

July 16-August 25 | EASTBOUND I-40 Construction | Mondays-Saturdays | 6 p.m. – 6 a.m.

Current lights on the Hernando de Soto bridge will shut off during Philips’ construction period, outlined above, as the bulbs themselves are replaced.

The full power of Mighty Lights, including the Hernando de Soto bridge, will be revealed to the public after sundown on Saturday, October 27 in conjunction with the annual River Arts Fest, which has announced its growth and move to Riverside Drive between Union and Jefferson Avenues. River Arts will open its doors for free admission after 5 p.m., offering an expansive view of the bridges among approximately one hundred artist vendor booths. Additionally, public spaces such as Tom Lee Park, Martyrs Park and river-facing attractions are invited to welcome the community to view the Mighty Lights for the first time.

“This free and one-of-a-kind attraction is for all of Memphis,” said George Monger, Memphis Bridge Lighting, Inc. board member. “We believe that Mighty Lights will become a point of pride for all Memphians, as everyone will have equal access to enjoy it. It is our goal that this new nightly experience will help to positively define the future of Memphis on a local, national and global scale.”

Mighty Lights dynamic light shows now take place every hour on the hour after sundown on Big River Crossing. In October, the hourly shows will grow to incorporate the Hernando de Soto’s new installation.

Mighty Lights, a $14 million gift to the City of Memphis, is completely privately funded. $12.5 million of the total has been raised to date. During this public stage of Mighty Lights’ capital fund development effort, dedication opportunities of vertical cables and arcs on the Hernando de Soto bridge are now available. Interested donors may inquire about financial participation via the contact page of mightylights.com.

Follow the Mighty Lights’ Hernando de Soto construction progress and nightly show announcements at facebook.com/mightylightsmemphis.

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