Green Bay residents welcome new lights on downtown bridges

Main Street bridge as seen on June 20, 2018. (WLUK Ben Krumholz)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Things are a little brighter in downtown Green Bay.

There was a party on the CityDeck Wednesday night to celebrate new colored LED lighting systems for the Main and Walnut Street Bridges.

As seasons, holidays, sports, and special causes change in Green Bay, so will the color of the downtown bridges.

“It just makes it more lively down here,” said April Hatcher, who lives downtown.

“I'm originally from Racine and we have bridges like this, but nothing like this,” said Mariah Williams of Green Bay.

With the old lighting systems starting to fail four years ago, the city decided to put some color into the replacements.

“We're estimating that the system is going to be consuming about 25 percent of what the old system did, so we will be able to run this system seven days a week for less money than we were able to run the old system just two days a week,” said Steve Grenier, Public Works Director for Green Bay.

While the annual operating cost isn't known yet, the initial cost for the new lights was $900,000. Taxpayers paid for them, as part of the latest city budget.

“Do the bridges function without them? Yes, the bridges function without them,” said Grenier. “It's an architectural system, but it was an architectural system that was authorized by common council.”

“For me and us living here, we like it and we're a part of it, so we're for it,” said Alex Sullivan, who lives downtown.

“Seeing as how much money the downtown area brings in, yeah, but I mean if there was nothing here I wouldn't feel that was a good investment,” said Williams.

City officials say the colored lights cost about the same as if the city put in white lights.

“I think the seasonal like the red and green for Christmas and the pink for breast cancer awareness or anything, that is nice that they can switch it up,” said Sullivan.

The goal is for the new lights to last between 15 and 20 years.

The lights that were replaced were installed in 1998. Fort James Paper Company provided a $350,000 donation for those lights.

Also, the Mason Street Bridge was not included for new lights because major work is expected to be done on the bridge within the next 12 years.

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