Dallas’ Big To-Do This Year: Light Up Our Santiago Calatrava Bridge

628x471by Andrew Chalk

This is San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, which was decidedly number two to the Golden Gate Bridge until entrepreneur Ben Davis had the idea of lighting it up in a spectacular mashup of art and technology. The 25,000 LED algorithmically generated light show by artist Leo Villareal went live about a year ago and runs every night. It cost $8m to design, make, install and tear down. LEDs are so efficient that the electricity cost for the two-mile display is only $11,000/year. The whole thing, known as the Bay Lights, is paid for by donations.  

I think we should light up Santiago Calatrava’s Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in a similar fashion,  raising the funds from a combination of donations and sponsorship. The current night lighting is too puny to display it effectively (in fact, it is so dingy that it lets down the whole design), despite the bridge having distinctive contours that lend themselves to multi-colored lighting – maybe even more dramatically than the conventional suspension bridge design of the Bay Bridge. It would almost certainly be less expensive to implement as it is half the length of the Bay Lights project and has a vertical span of only 400 ft., versus the 500ft. in the Bay Bridge case.


During its two-year life the Bay Lights project is expected to be seen by 50m people and generate $97m additional revenue in local business.

Now who has a business near our bridge and would be willing and capable of getting the ball rolling?


Filed under Andrew Chalk

5 responses to “Dallas’ Big To-Do This Year: Light Up Our Santiago Calatrava Bridge

  1. Andrew, I totally agree with uyou on this one. It’s kinda “not there” at night and this would bring alive this side of the city.

  2. Right, Howard. There are 56 cold white bulbs at present. It could be spectacular as part of a computerized light display.

  3. Korinna Kirchhoff

    Great idea but was thrown off by the official name. Everyone I know refers to it as Large Marge, I thought that was the norm?

  4. Harriet Laub Levine

    Wonderful idea especially if the powers that be wish to entice a political party convention to Dallas, What a selling point. And talk about big “D”. We would become bright big “D”. Too bad we can’t import a river, bay, creek, or any body of water, to flow underneath it.


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