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General Press Releases

Port of San Diego to Conduct First Overwater Lighting Test on the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

The Port of San Diego is conducting the first ever overwater lighting field test as part of the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge Lighting Project, the next step in a multi-step process to artistically illuminate a portion of the 2.1-mile bridge span from the Coronado shoreline to Harbor Drive in San Diego.  

The testing is scheduled to occur between 6:15 p.m. and midnight for a week-long period from Sunday, November 8, to Saturday, November 14. To facilitate the testing, 170 computer-programmable color LED luminaires and controllers are being temporarily installed on three of the tallest columns near the center of the bridge span. 

Each night during the live technical testing, lighting in different colors, combinations, sequencing, and arrangements will be intermittently visible on the three columns. Occasional periods of darkness will occur as other aspects of the installation are tested. This test is a significant milestone in moving forward with the project to be able to provide San Diego residents and visitors an artistic architectural lighting installation that will illuminate the structure at night and create a unique aesthetic identity for the bridge and the bay after dark.

“This bridge lighting test provides San Diego a unique opportunity to see what’s possible and how the infusion of technology and art can make people feel connected to, and inspired by, our beautiful waterfront,” said Commissioner Marshall Merrifield, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Our goal is to ignite the imaginations of every person in the San Diego region, and after years of dedicated time to the project, bring forward a viable, beautiful addition to the nighttime skyline.” 

The week of technical testing is intended to evaluate the lighting design that has been developed to date, its technical functionality, and its ability to effectively display the broad range of artistic color lighting as originally envisioned. During the testing, the project team and design consultants will take measurements, collect data, and identify adjustments that may be necessary as the project’s design development continues. The testing will also help in better understanding the project’s feasibility and capabilities, answer questions related to engineering, design, sustainability, and be used to create an adequate project description for environmental review. 

This is the second test of the project. The first took place in April 2019 and tested lighting on two columns over land on the San Diego side of the bridge. After the first test was complete, the Port received a Coastal Development Permit in October 2019 for the overwater testing allowing the Port to move forward with this upcoming test. 

Following a worldwide competition, an international design team consisting of lead artist Peter Fink of Studio Fink LTD, architectural lighting specialists Speirs+Major Associates, and Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, was selected to design the artistic lighting concept for the project. As a follow-up to the lighting tests,  the Port plans to invite community members to share their input and have conversations with the design group to ensure communication and collaboration and to further develop a signature, bay-spanning illuminated artwork for the region.

In addition to public input, and once the upcoming lighting test is complete, the Port will initiate plans to proceed with environmental review as the next step of the project. For more information about the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge Lighting Project, visit

The San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge is part of the state highway system and the Port of San Diego received a permit for the lighting project from The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the owner-operator of the bridge. The Port is taking the lead on obtaining funding for the project, which is intended to be generated entirely through donations. Once fully developed, the project will be reviewed by Caltrans to ensure it does not interfere with current or future bridge operations or projects, including the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge Suicide Deterrent Project to install a suicide deterrence system to reduce suicides, suicide attempts, and associated bridge closures. The Caltrans Bridge Suicide Deterrent Project is currently in the environmental review process, and the public scoping period ended on July 14, 2020.  For more information on the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge Suicide Deterrent Project visit

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available through the San Diego 24/7 crisis line at 888.724.7240.

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.

About Port of San Diego Experiences

Port of San Diego Experiences welcomes businesses, residents and visitors from across the globe to enjoy and prosper from our dynamic waterfront.

As a treasured destination, the Port provides unique opportunities to captivate visitors and ensure everyone is welcomed, connected and inspired by our beautiful waterfront.