It took over a year for workers to strategically set up the system and now, after a short period of testing, the new Samuel de Champlain Bridge lights are permanently switched on. Although it can light up in an impressive array of colours, the basic theme will be a blank, white display with ‘architectural lighting’ being used in the evenings. The lighting system is made up of more than 7800 individually controllable LED luminaires. Centrally controlled, it will display programmable themes with adjustable colors, intensity and duration and even themes associated with major events could be made possible. Drivers, who had the opportunity to recently cross the bridge while the system was being tested, reported seeing a mix of blue, green and orange colours lighting it up from the edges of the structure’s roadbed.
It will not be a show like the lights installed on the Jacques Cartier Bridge for Montreal’s 375th anniversary with a new light display every hour. The lights on the Jacques Cartier are composed of 2,800 light tubes and projectors and were designed by the Moment Factory. Although the Federal Government paid for it, the cost for the colourful anniversary gift was $39.5 million. The price tag for the lights on the new Champlain Bridge is not known, as it was included in the overall cost to build and maintain it and no details have been offered. The bridge was built by a public-private partnership at a cost of $4.2-billion to date. The final cost has to be determined by lawyers for both the Federal government and Signature on the St. Lawrence, the consortium of companies (including SNC-Lavalin), that built the bridge – due to penalty fees that may be applied, as the original deadline for the project of December 2018 was not met.