SCHENECTADY — A major downtown railroad bridge and two smaller spans in the Stockade neighborhood will gain nighttime illumination under a contract announced Friday.
The $235,211 project will light up the underside of the bridges over State, Green and Front streets to improve pedestrian safety. The upper parts of the State Street bridge, in the heart of the downtown commercial district, also will be bathed with colored light as a decorative measure. The upper parts of the two Stockade bridges will not be lighted, as they are in residential areas, with neighbors living nearby.
“Lighting up rail bridges downtown with LED technology helps to shine a light on pedestrian areas underneath these bridges improving safety and accessibility,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said in a news release. “We have received very positive feedback from the public on the other two bridges where we installed new lighting, so we are pleased to continue this effort.”
The city is contributing $70,000 toward the project; the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority is covering the rest of the cost. Work is expected to be completed this year.
The project was designed by Lighting Dynamic, a division of M/E Engineering, which has an office at 433 State St. The work will be done by Schenectady Hardware and Electric, a fourth-generation city-based contractor that submitted the lowest of six bids on the project.
Christopher Spraragen, CEO of Schenectady Hardware & Electric, said the project is a good one for the city, both for aesthetics and to keep pedestrians from tripping and falling in the dark.
“They’re making Schenectady a more pedestrian-friendly environment,” he said. “There’s ambiance it creates, and obviously it upgrades safety.”
Spraragen said the State Street bridge will receive the most extensive light installation of the three: Variable-color lights along the outside of the overpass and shining up from underneath, plus clear lights illuminating the sidewalks beneath the bridge, for a total of more than 100 fixtures.
All will be LED lights, which use less electricity, a key part of Schenectady’s Smart City initiative.
The city previously had added new lighting under the Union Street and Liberty Street bridges, with support from National Grid.
The lighting work already completed and the contract announced Friday leaves just one dark rail bridge in that part of the city: the largest of them all, the diagonal span over Erie Boulevard between Union and Green streets.
Metroplex and city officials said they are working to light that bridge, too, in cooperation with the state Department of Transportation and Amtrak.