2009-09-17 / Letters to the Editor

Shedding light on bridge security

On occasion, we have heard or read comments that the decorative lighting on the Pell and Mt. Hope bridges is a contributing factor to the toll increase. In the opinion of the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority board of directors, they are not.

While the lights add to the attractiveness of the bridges, they serve an even higher purpose as they provide increased safety and better security.

Following the tragic events of Sept. 11, the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority sought the advice of security experts regarding best practices for protecting the bridges. While RITBA, as a matter of policy, does not disclose the security measures undertaken to protect the motoring public, it is commonly understood that welllit areas help deter criminal activity. The decision was made by the board to keep the lights on both bridges lit each day from dusk to dawn instead of sporadically, which had been the practice.

Additionally, the decorative lights provide an aid to motorists during low visibility periods, such as dense fog conditions. Improved lighting reduces the risk of collisions and improves drivers’ safety.

The 268 light fixtures are modern, energy-efficient lights. Each is only 100 watts and collectively, cost less than $25 per bridge per day in electricity. We consider that to be a small, worthwhile expense when compared to the benefit of avoiding potential harm to people and property.

As custodians of the Pell and Mt. Hope bridges, the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority takes the responsibility of the security and safety of the bridges – and those who traverse them – very seriously. It is our highest priority.
David Darlington
Chairman of the Board of
Directors
Rhode Island Turnpike and
Bridge Authority

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