FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. — On Wednesday crews set about making changes to make it possible for the blue lights along the Market Street Bridge to return.
Brent Walker, West Virginia Department of Transportation communications director, said crews with Bayliss & Ramey of Dunbar, W.Va., are working to separate the electrical systems for the blue lights that extend along its upper truss and the white lights found in many other areas of the span.
“We’re really in the trouble-shooting stage. We hope to restore them by the end of the month,” he said.
Walker noted the blue lights were shut off in 2014 after the Coast Guard reported barge pilots complained they disrupted their navigational lights while near the bridge.
He said plans call for the barge pilots to use a radio frequency to deactivate and reactivate the blue lights as they pass the span.
Walker said similar technology is used by airplane pilots to activate runway lights as they approach runways at some smaller airports.
The move saves the airports the cost of employing ground crews to activate the lights at night.
Walker said in the event a barge pilot fails to reactivate the blue lights, they will be set to come on automatically after a period of time.
He said the white lights along the span’s towers, cables and walkway won’t be affected by the radio signals.
Bayliss & Ramey was the contractor that installed the lights when the bridge was renovated in 2011.
A surprise addition made as part of a $13.7 million improvement project, they were intended to complement the span’s new blue and yellow color scheme, which was favored among four choices put to the public in an online survey.
(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])