A Veterans Memorial Bridge project involving Lancaster County has been an enlightening experience for Wrightsville Mayor Neil Habecker.
"It's like changing the front door on your house," he said. "This should raise the property value of the community."
Habecker said he is excited about the bridge lighting project to install 65 new cast-iron lights with 1930s-style lantern design and LED bulbs.
For the project, Wrightsville entered into a bridge maintenance partnership with Columbia Borough and West Hempfield Township, both in Lancaster County. The three municipalities have been discussing the project for about five years to replace the current old, rusting cobra head light fixtures, Habecker said.
"(The bridge) is a gateway to Columbia and Wrightsville, to Lancaster and York," he said. " All three (municipalities) are viewing this project as an opportunity to further our communities and extending the welcome mat to everyone, residents and visitors. We're communities cooperating together in economic revitalization."
Project details: Columbia is leading the project, having secured a $2.1 million federal transportation enhancement grant through the state Department of Transportation in January 2013, said Sam Sulkosky, the borough's manager.
Through a bidding process, the installation work was awarded to Kuharchik Construction Inc. of Exeter, Luzerne County, he said.
The new lights are eight-feet high and 2-1/2 feet in diameter, said Ahmad Mahmoud, Kuharchik's project manager.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the month, as 28 new lights had been installed as of Wednesday, Sulkosky said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bridge is being planned for June, he said.
The new lights and the remaining cobra head fixtures are operating to keep the 2-mile bridge brightened for motorists as they cross over the Susquehanna River, he said.
The cobra head fixtures date back to the 1940s and are deteriorating, according to Sulkosky. The replacement lights are a replica of the style of fixtures used in 1930, the year the bridge opened, he said.
The new lights will be more energy-efficient than those being replaced. Also, at least 70 percent of the new lights' beams will shine on the road, providing greater brightness for motorists, Sulkosky said.
"I think they look great," he said. "I've never seen a bridge with lights like this. It's pretty amazing. If you're going to do something, you might as well do it with a splash."
— Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at email@example.com.