New ‘String of Pearls’ Lighting System Will Span Both Manahawkin Bay Bridges

Jul 23, 2015
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

A new and improved LED lighting system split along the Manahawkin Bay Bridges will replicate the original string of pearls’ low-level lighting system. One set of new lights will run along the northern face of the original, rehabilitated bridge, and a second set will run along the southern face of the newly constructed bridge, said Daniel Triana, public information officer at the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The new lighting system will feature LED fixtures designed to eliminate the need for repeated maintenance frequently experienced with the older system. After approximately 60 years, the parts for the old lighting system slowly became unavailable, Triana noted.

The Route 72 bridge’s string of pearls was originally designed from scratch in the mid-1950s by Dorland J. Henderson, a top DOT engineer, whom the bridge is officially named after. The lighting system, made up of 768 separate fluorescent lights, was the first of its kind in the world. The goal was to preserve the clean lines of the structure. It has been hailed as one of the most aesthetically pleasing light systems ever designed for a bridge in the country, and has also been described as a "pathway to heaven." The lights have been in continuous use since 1958.

The new string of pearls will appear in phases. The southern set of lights will be illuminated as construction on the new bridge approaches completion next year. After the rehabilitation work on the original bridge is completed, the northern set of lights will be turned on, Triana explained.

In addition to the new string of pearls, a standard set of highway light poles will be installed to illuminate the bridge roadway.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.