In recognition of more than 100 years in operation, the Fremont Bridge will feature a permanent light display beginning Thursday.
Lighting installations are also planned for two other historic bridges in Seattle, University and Ballard, but no date has been set.
The Bridge Lights project is a joint effort between the Office of Arts & Culture and the Seattle Department of Transportation. The organizations commissioned artists Hayley Buckbee and Ian Campbell to create a “contextually sensitive lighting design” that reflects seasonal, solar and lunar patterns, according to the project’s website.
A 6-minute preview of the light show, which will be installed under the bridge and on the bridge sidewalks, was held Wednesday.
The Fremont Bridge project cost $212,000, with about half of the money from a rebate received from using energy-efficient lighting. Other money came from a fund for pedestrian projects and the program that directs 1 percent of certain construction costs to art.
Lighting the Ballard and University bridges, which opened in 1917 and 1919, respectively, will depend on private funding, said Karen Westing, a city spokeswoman.
Once permanently lit, the Fremont project has no fixed end date.
The bridge, which opened in June 1917, was Seattle’s first double-leaf bascule drawbridge — a type of movable bridge that opens in the middle to allow the pass-through of boat traffic. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
For decades, the Fremont Bridge was painted a shade of green. In 1972, residents voted to change the color of the bridge to orange, but after a few years, it faded to a pink color “between dead salmon and stale fruit,” according to HistoryLink, a Washington state history website.
In 1984, the city engineering department gave the community five color choices to repaint the bridge. A two-color scheme compromise — bright blue with orange accents — was brokered, and the combination remains.
The city plans to continue artistic work on the bridge through a residency for a musician or composer. The application closes March 20, and the residency begins in June.