The Bay Lights | Bay Area Toll Authority & Caltrans
Categorical Exemption

The western span of the Bay Bridge that connects downtown San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island is one of the most architecturally-distinct elements in San Francisco. Originally constructed in 1936, the Bay Bridge provides a crucial link between San Francisco and the East Bay.

The Bay Lights project was an ambitious public arts endeavor by the non-profit organization, Illuminate the Arts, that involved installing 25,000 energy-efficient white LED lights on the vertical suspender cables in honor of the bridge’s 75th Diamond Anniversary. Each LED light is individually controlled, glowing and dimming in sync with the other lights to create a shimmering light show in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Although the Bay Lights were originally slated to turn off in 2015, DJP&A is currently conducting environmental review to keep the lights on for at least a decade longer through 2026.

DJP&A completed the initial environmental review for the Bay Lights project in 2012 and is currently preparing the technical studies and CEQA review for the more permanent installation. The environmental review, led by Judy Shanley, includes an analysis of the project’s aesthetic impacts to community character and navigational safety, potential impacts to birds, fish, and other wildlife, and hazardous material impacts. While the Bay Lights are a relatively new addition to the Bay Area landscape, they have quickly become a unique and beloved addition to the iconic bridge.

Images courtesy of: David Goehring (Flickr), and David Baron (Flickr)

  • Iconic public arts project in the middle of the San Francisco Bay
  • Originally intended to be lit between 2013-2015; DJP&A is assisting Illuminate the Arts to keep the lights on until 2026
  • Environmental review includes analysis of aesthetic, biological, and hazardous material impacts

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