Coronado bridge closer to becoming artistically lit - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Coronado bridge closer to becoming artistically lit

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The long-awaited plan to artistically light the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge got a financial shot in the arm Tuesday with a $300,000 donation from BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, but more fundraising is needed for the project to move forward.

Port officials hope to have the multi-colored lighting scheme ready for the span's 50th anniversary in 2019.

So far, a total of $460,000 has been raised, including a previous BAE Systems gift of $31,000 and a donation from the developers of new hotels at Broadway and Pacific Highway, known as BRIC.

"Lighting the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge will add inspiration and beauty to the region's landscape," said port Chairman Marshall Merrifield.

"This contribution from BAE Systems combines with a recent contribution from the development team of BRIC on the Lane Field site, both Port of San Diego tenants, to get us started on the design and engineering needed to implement the project," he said.

A memorandum of understanding between the port and Caltrans, which has jurisdiction over the bridge, requires that the project be paid for with private money, and for the next phase of development -- a feasibility and environmental study -- to be fully funded before it can begin. Port staff estimated the cost of the studies to be at least $750,000.

The MOU also requires the studies to be complete before the next phases - - final planning and installation -- can be performed.

The report estimates total cost of the project to be $6 million to $8 million.

According to port officials, the idea of illuminating the bridge with an artist-designed lighting scheme originated with the Public Art Committee, which 10 years ago sought to come up with a signature artwork for the bay. The port held a design competition, and in 2010, the Board of Commissioners approved the selection of a design team led by London-based artist Peter Fink.

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