Ringling Bridge lighting project completed this week

New lights can be changed to any color in spectrum, FDOT says

The Ringling Bridge connects downtown Sarasota to Bird Key and St. Armands File photo

As of the night of Sept. 26, the waters of Sarasota Bay around the John Ringling Causeway — Sarasota’s Ringling Bridge — are expected to reflect a full range of colors, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced this week.

Sept. 26 was the day a lighting retrofit project was to be completed on the bridge columns.

“The wide faces of all columns will be illuminated by floodlighting fixtures mounted to the underside of the bridge, washing along the height of each column,” an FDOT news release says. “Color-changing lighting will provide a majestic enhancement to the iconic bridge,” the release adds.

The Ringling Bridge was built in 2003 with white decorative lights to showcase its underside columns, the release notes. “After 16 years in the corrosive saltwater environment, the original light fixtures degraded and had to be replaced,” the release explains.

FDOT “opted to provide Sarasota County residents and visitors with a breathtaking upgrade to new color LED technology that is more reliable and uses much less power,” the release notes. “The new lights can be changed to any color in the spectrum.”

Additionally, the release says, “One ‘animated program’ can slowly transition from one color to another,” in a fashion similar to the lighting on downtown Tampa bridges.

FDOT replaced a total of 60 lighting fixtures on all 10 columns, the release points out. The $178,000 lighting project started in June, the release says.