Bay Bridge lights were supposed to go dark, but glitch in the 'off switch' illuminates the span again
SAN FRANCISCO - The famed Bay Bridge LED light display was supposed to have its swan song earlier this month, but perhaps only to further demonstrate why it needed to come down, the "off switch" glitched Sunday night, providing an unexpected encore presentation.
Ben Davis, the founder of the "Bay Lights" project, said that the installation was so badly damaged from the years of wear and tear, that even the "off switch" didn’t work properly.
SEE ALSO: Bay Bridge lights display to be shut off
The glitch happened during Sunday's Academy Awards show, offering some good fodder for some Oscars jokes. Patricia Suflita Wilson tweeted that the lights' reappearance could win an award for "Best fictional performance," to which project organizer Illuminate responded, "Best lighting?"
After illuminating the bridge for a decade, the installation went dark on March 5. The light system surpassed its expected lifespan as its project managers said it wasn’t actually even meant to last as long as it did.
But project leaders said that the LEDs were "failing at a rate faster than can be repaired," and it was time to bring them down.
The hope now was that a more durable system would eventually go up on the span. Organizers have launched a new effort to replace the lighting system with one that can withstand the harsh windy, salty and rainy conditions of the San Francisco Bay.
"The number of programmable LEDs will double to nearly 50,000, making the artwork visible to communities around the Bay," the San Francisco-based art nonprofit group Illuminate said, adding, "And for the first time, we seek to have the lights be safely visible to drivers on the Bay Bridge, creating a world-class nighttime public art portal into San Francisco."
The "Help Restore the Bay Lights" project has so far raised more than $106K of the $11M needed.
Organizers said the effort was making strides toward becoming a reality. "We are raising ten $1M gifts from major philanthropists," they noted.
And organizers suggested that the community could also get involved in bringing this new public art project to fruition. "This crowdfunding campaign seeks to raise $1M in smaller gifts, allowing everyone to participate," they said, adding, "We will do this collectively, one dollar, one hundred dollars, or $1M at a time."
Meanwhile, those who just weren't ready to say goodbye to the LEDs that brought the bridge aglow for ten years, got at least one more chance to view the iconic light show, which apparently just wasn’t ready for its final curtain call.