Reinstallation of popular light sculpture on Bay Bridge begins tonight

Reinstallation of a 1.8-mile-long LED light sculpture on the Bay Bridge known as The Bay Lights will begin tonight.

The popular 500-foot-high art installation, designed by artist Leo Villareal, creates a colorful display on the bridge with 25,000 white LED lights.

The lights were removed in March to allow Caltrans crews to perform maintenance on the bridge cables of the Bay Bridge’s western span.

They are being reinstalled now and are expected to be shining again in time for Super Bowl 50, which will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 7, 2016.

First installed in 2013 as part of the Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration, The Bay Lights quickly became a fixture of the San Francisco waterfront.

Late in 2014, Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority agreed to take over the operation and maintenance of the installation and make it permanent. In return, Illuminate the Arts, the nonprofit behind the light installation, agreed to raise $4 million toward the cost of reinstalling the lights.

In July, the Bay Area Toll Authority approved a 10-year, $2.1 million contract for Philips Lighting North America Corp. to maintain the installation.

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