April 03, 2023
The Benjamin Franklin Bridge is ready to debut a glow-up to its lighting system that will make the historic span a kinetic spectacle.
The newly installed LED lighting system premieres at 7:45 p.m Monday on the north side of the bridge. A light show celebration lasting several minutes will be put on by the Delaware River Port Authority at Cooper Poynt Park in Camden, officials said.
The new energy-efficient lights include a range of effects like a "chasing rainbow" pattern that will follow PATCO train cars as they cross the bridge. Colorful light displays can be themed to coincide with holidays and other special events.
The decorative lighting system is part of DRPA's $216.9 million Ben Franklin Bridge Suspension Span and Anchorage Rehabilitation Project, which includes bridge repairs and rehabilitation of the span's walkways.
This is the first time the bridge's lights have been upgraded in more than 20 years. In 2000, DRPA installed colored LED lights along the bridge deck. Halide spotlights had been added along the bottom of the bridge in 1987, with reflectors placed atop the span's 256 vertical suspender cables. The bridge began construction 1922 and was completed in the summer of 1926.
The upgrades to the Ben Franklin Bridge lighting follow the recent announcement of plans to overhaul the lights at Boathouse Row, which will be dark for about eight months as the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation get the new system ready for the winter holidays.