An icon that connects York and Lancaster counties could soon receive a bright facelift.
Officials from the Lancaster-York Heritage Region and Rivertownes PA USA unveiled plans recently in Columbia, Lancaster County, to revamp the Veterans Memorial Bridge with a new lighting system and gardens.
The art deco-style bridge, which is on the National Register of Historic Structures, spans the Susquehanna River linking Wrightsville and Columbia along Rt. 462.
The project will return the bridge to how it looked when it was built more than 75 years ago, said Claire Storm, president of the local Rivertownes organization.
The project calls for new lights to be placed on the piers that line the bridge deck, new landscaping at bridge entrances, and possibly lighting under the bridge. The lights under the bridge would be installed on arch supports and shine upward to showcase the arches.
"It'll really be a dramatic view you could see from one of the water-front parks or from Route 30," said Shawn Good, a lighting engineer with Harrisburg-based Brinjac Engineering.
However, additional funding may be needed for the under-lighting phase of the project.
Though a firm construction date has yet to be set, once work starts the estimated $2.3 million project should be completed in a few months. Work would not inhibit traffic flow, Good said.
When the bridge, which first opened for traffic in 1930, was constructed, it boasted the same style deck lighting, and the wire pathways still exist.
Lamps of different sizes and shapes are planned to be installed. They range from "lantern"-styled lamps to art deco street lamps.
Good said he had consulted the original lighting plans and was able to find a few of the original fixtures to use as a base for building the new castings.
Before work can begin, government funding has to appropriated and the proper state permits have to be obtained. Good said construction could begin as early as this fall or possibly sometime next year.
At the entrances to the bridge, John Hershey, a landscape architect with Thomas Comitta Associates in Lancaster, said evergreen hedgerows would be planted. Plants will be put in so that the scenery would change with the seasons.
"We're trying to get back to the 1920s plans for the approach to the bridge," he said.
For more information about Rivertownes PA USA or to view the plans in full for the lighting project, go too www.rivertownes.org.
Absorbing photo and overlay shows locations of six Susquehanna bridges.