Emerson Bridge lights get turned on Feb. 21

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The ceremony will be private, but the entire community will see the results when civic leaders switch on decorative lights outlining the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge on Feb. 21.

The lighting ceremony will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Spanish Street in Cape Girardeau, a short distance from the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.

About 300 people may attend the ceremony, which will recognize those who donated money to put the 140 decorative lights on the $100 million steel cable-held bridge, said Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce president John Mehner.

At 7 p.m., John Layton and Dr. C. Nelson Ringer, the two men who came up with the idea of outfitting the bridge with decorative lights, will flip the ceremonial switch turning on the lights.

The decorative lights, which recently have been tested, will be on a timer. They will operate from dusk to midnight daily.

Chamber pays initially

The chamber at least initially will pay the cost of operating the lights, estimated at $5,000 to $8,000 annually, Mehner said.

But Mehner said the chamber hasn't made a commitment to pay the expense permanently. He said that issue will have to be addressed later.

Towboat captains will be able to send signals automatically turning off the decorative lights when they pose a navigation problem, said Scott Meyer, Missouri Department of Transportation district engineer.

Meyer said the bridge has street lights and is outfitted with navigational lights. Those will remain on all night.

There's no need to keep the decorative lights on all night since few people would be crossing the bridge between midnight and 5 a.m., he said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: