Esplanade Riel illuminated in colour thanks to new lighting system

Esplanade Riel is sporting a colourful new look after new, programmable LED lights were recently installed. The lights can illuminate the bridge in any colour imaginable and replace the original system installed when the bridge was built two decades ago.

“We noticed an increasing amount of repair work was needed on the old lights so we started to explore replacement options that were energy efficient and could reduce maintenance costs,” said Darren Burmey, Bridge Planning and Operations Engineer with the City of Winnipeg.

“While not the primary reason for the new system, it was nice to be able to incorporate colours at the same time as upgrading the lights.”

Each one of the 55 lights on Esplanade Riel can be digitally programmed to display a specific colour or a lighting sequence. It took a few nights for crews to fine tune the bulbs to ensure they were angled in a way that best illuminates the bridge’s tension cables, spire, and building.

“Lighting bridges and other landmarks in different colours can be done in cities all over the world, so it is nice to be able to now light Esplanade Riel in the same way,” said Burmey, “Without this upgrade, it just wasn’t feasible to change the colour of the bridge lights in an easy to manage way.”

When not illuminated a specific colour, you might notice you can spot the bridge from further away at night. The new lights are brighter than the previous ones with the added ability to remotely set the brightness level.

“This was a fantastic project to work on,” said Burmey. “Esplanade Riel is a key part of Winnipeg’s skyline, so it is really nice to be able to enhance it in a way that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

A formal lighting policy has been approved by Council. Lighting requests must be submitted by not-for-profit organizations or must be community-oriented. Requests should reflect, celebrate, and build community spirit. 

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