After years of darkness, the Glover H. Cary “Blue” Bridge is one step closer to being relit.

Assistant City Manager Lelan Hancock said the process of relighting the bridge is slated to begin about Feb. 3.

The project, expected to cost about $1.9 million, will take several months. Crews will begin removing the old lighting system before installing the new one. The task will be completed by Groves Electrical of Madisonville.

Hancock said the company is expected to come to Owensboro sometime next week to set up a “construction base camp” below the bridge before the work actually begins.

The company won’t start until after 8 a.m. each day, Hancock said, and will work throughout the day until dark.

“Right now you can expect an 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) partial-closure one lane on the bridge,” he said.

Hancock said about 400 feet of the bridge will be reduced to one lane at a time. There will be an automated lighting system for traffic control.

“We’ll try to minimize traffic delays as much as possible, but there will be some delays. You can’t shut a portion of the lane down without having some inconvenience,” he said.

The bridge, which will be lit on both sides and contain 512 light fixtures, will be able to change color depending on the time of year. For example, the bridge can be lit in red or pink for Valentine’s Day or orange for Halloween. The city will also plan special light shows with the bridge, such as one that will correspond with the Owensboro Air Show next year.

“It will actually be a really neat light system. We’re pretty excited about it,” Hancock said.

In 2013, the bridge went dark to prepare for its repainting. During the repainting process, one of the contractors painting the bridge came into contact with exposed wires and was electrocuted. The city and several Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employees were drawn into a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Netzahualcoyolt “Nett” Gonzalez family estate, which has since been settled.

Hancock said the project’s completion will depend on the weather, but hoped to be finished by July. The city is planning a special celebration after the bridge is relit.

“It’s been a long road getting to this point, but everybody is excited,” he said.

Trey Crumbie, 270-691-7297, tcrumbie@messenger-inquirer.com.

Trey Crumbie, 270-691-7297, tcrumbie@messenger-inquirer.com.

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