Lighting technicians and workers are closing a lane on the Bay Bridge each evening this week for what you might think of as a really big Christmas display.
They're installing 25,000 LEDs on the cables on the north side of the bridge's suspension span. The work is part of an art project to honor the bridge's 75th anniversary.
"And what happens is crews go up in the middle of the night and hang down the side of the bridge and attach up to 500 LEDs each evening, per shift," says Ben Davis, chairman of Illuminate the Arts, the group that's installing the lights.
"And the progress is just going great. We're over 10 percent complete, and we're completely on track for a grand lighting ceremony," he says. That ceremony is scheduled for March 5, 2013.
Davis has raised $5.7 million dollars so far for the $8 million dollar project.
The lighting design is by light artist Leo Villareal, famous for his work at Burning Man and in museums around the world. Davis says the project will bring attention to a bridge often overlooked for its more glamorous partner spanning the Golden Gate.
"I just about have an orgasm when I ride my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge." Davis said, "But I, like a lot of people here, have a really deeper love almost for the Bay Bridge, and its great to see this hard-working and really elegant bridge shine again in our consciousness.
The lighting project will be up for at least two years. It's not in time for this year's 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge. But it will be finished in time for next year's America's Cup, and the completion of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.