In 2000, City of Boston and Light Boston jointly issued “Illuminating Boston: The Diamond Necklace Project,” a report that identified the Congress Street Bridge as one of twenty-five downtown landmarks worthy of enhanced nighttime illumination. Whereas in the daylight the bridge is a bold feature of the public realm and a monument to the revolutionaries, industrialists, and innovators of the Boston’s past and present, into the evening and night it fades forgotten into the city’s gray infrastructure. The intent of this project is to use aesthetic lighting enhancements to reveal and reinforce the historic functions and cultural significance of the bridge; to improve and enliven the atmosphere of an inactivated public space; and to enhance the public’s access to and enjoyment of the city’s waterfront.

As a result of “Illuminating Boston: The Diamond Necklace Project,” funds derived from Article 80 and Chapter 91 mitigation for the redevelopments of Atlantic Wharf and 500 Atlantic Avenue were designated for the Congress Street Bridge lighting design and installation. In 2004, Fisher, Marantz, Stone developed a conceptual lighting plan for the bridge that was approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission and Public Works Department. Since then, Atlantic Wharf and 500 Atlantic Avenue have been completed, along with other significant redevelopments along the Fort Point Channel, including the InterContinental, Fan Pier, portions of Seaport Square such as the Envoy Hotel, and others. In addition, the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway has become an enlivened year-round destination and future developments nearby include General Electric’s headquarters. These additions have significantly increased the ambient lighting in the surrounding area. Similarly, the completion of the Congress Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project in 2008 and the re-opening of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum in 2012 have resulted in the installation of new electrical infrastructure on the bridge. The significant advances in lighting technology over the past decade present opportunities to evaluate new design and cost strategies for this project.

The Congress Street Bridge Lighting Project will utilize $470,000 in development mitigation funds to design and install a lighting plan with a focus on aesthetics, value, efficiency, durability and ease of maintenance. A successful lighting design will not only realize the community’s aspirations for the bridge and leverage modern technologies, but also animate the Fort Point Channel and celebrate the city’s past, present, and brightening future.

More information is available here.

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