Big Four Bridge lights could be out until October

City still baffled by problem with Big Four Bridge decorative lights
Updated: Aug. 27, 2018 at 11:00 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Big Four Bridge has been dark for weeks and it could be weeks more before the decorative lights are back on, Waterfront Park officials said Monday.

The $2.1 million LED lighting project went online in 2015, illuminating the bridge in a bright, multi-colored, changing pattern of lights.

In recent weeks, sections of the bridge lighting have malfunctioned, leading officials to shut down the entire LED system until contractors can identify the problem and make adjustments to stop it from happening again.

Waterfront Development Corporation President David Karem said promises about the system's resilience have not been kept.

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"These bridges are lit up all over the world and this one should be lit 100 percent, all of the time," Karem said. "We were promised at the inception of this that it would be fully operational."

Officials said it is possible a lightning strike could be responsible for shorting out portions of the system, but it is hard to say for sure.

"We've got the electrical contractor that has agreed to comb through the entire bridge, check all the connections," Waterfront Park Manager Gary Pepper said.

Pepper said connections will be checked all over the bridge to see if moisture is getting inside them and shorting out devices called data enablers.

There are dozens of data enablers embedded in the lighting and electrical systems, controlling and regulating the constantly changing lights.

"Our most recent (outage) was about 30 or 40 of these enablers that have gone bad," Pepper said. "And everyone is just kind of scratching their head trying to figure out how we're going to make this thing work again."

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Officials expect the decorative lights to be back on by Oct. 1.

Lights still illuminate the interior of the bridge where visitors walk and officials said they have not noticed a drop in visitors after dark.

But some visitors expressed reservations.

"Of course it makes me not want to come up here," Jasmine Bradford said. "The fact there's no lights. It's dark, anything could happen to me."

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