Many communities around the world are implementing aesthetic lighting treatments along roadways, in tunnels, and atop or underneath bridges. The purpose of these treatments is to add interest and character to areas that are traditionally dark or institutional in appearance.
The SR 18 bridge that spans Auburn Way South is a gateway feature for travelers heading north to the businesses and residences in a significant portion of south Auburn, or that are heading towards the Muckleshoot Casino, White River Amphitheater and more generally towards the Enumclaw Plateau. For those that are travelling south, the bridge is gateway into downtown and/or north Auburn. The purpose of this project is to better utilize the bridge as a more prominent, attractive and fun gateway feature.
Staff is proposing to design and install an LED lighting system within the bridge that creates a color effect. And because it is LED lighting, the color effect can be programmed and/or modified to align with seasons (e.g. autumn colors of orange and yellow in the fall), high school colors (e.g. a high school makes it to a state championship), sporting events (e.g. the Mariner’s make it to the World Series), awareness of causes (e.g. colors associated with autism, domestic violence, or cancer awareness), or other events similar events.
In 2018 the City of Kent carried out a similar project underneath the SR 167 bridge at Meeker Street. A photo of the lighting effect on Meeker Street is attached. The City of Kent indicated that the Meeker Street project cost approximately $50,000. This cost includes drawings that are prepared by a licensed engineer, installation by a licensed contractor/electrician, and permit fees paid to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The adopted City budget already includes an $80,000 line item that is dedicated to Auburn Way South planning and improvement efforts. If approved, the $50,000 expense would be drawn from this account; therefore, there is no budget impact related to this expense. While this project is within administrative spending authority, staff is seeking an endorsement from City Council due to the high visibility of the project and because the expense is related to an aesthetic improvement.