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The Big Four Bridge

The Big Four Bridge that connects Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana, has become a popular destination with an estimated 1 million visitors in its first two years.

Louisville, Kentucky — The Big Four Bridge that connects Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana, has become a popular destination with an estimated 1 million visitors in its first two years. The city of Louisville repurposed the historic bridge into a pedestrian walkway and bicycle path to help revitalize the area running over the Ohio River. After two years as a successful daytime spot, the city of Louisville and the Waterfront Development Corporation wanted to enhance the bridge with color-changing light, transforming it into an art installation for all to enjoy.

The project was encouraged and supported by City Mayor Greg Fischer, a leader known for his initiatives to enhance Louisville’s reputation as an independent, cultural, and innovative American city. The lights bring a new element to the mile-long historical bridge named for the Big Four Railroad, an historic transportation line that ran through Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis.

A combination of state, city, and private funds financed the project. With an arena and many other venues in the area, the bridge gives the neighborhood a beacon of visual interest. The lights give viewers from the surrounding parks and pedestrians using the paths new experiences of the bridge. On one hand, the bridge is a dynamic artistic installation to gaze upon and a vibrant backdrop for events on the Waterfront, and on the other the lights provide a dazzling show to walk beneath.

The Waterfront Development Corporation enlisted Vincent Lighting Systems (VLS), a systems integrator, located in nearby Erlanger, Kentucky. VLS worked with local lighting representative Bright Focus Sales to find a solution that would provide shifting color-changing light. VLS chose a Philips Color Kinetics solution using ColorBlast Powercore and ColorBurst Powercore fixtures to wash the bridge nightly with brilliant hues of slowly fading colors.

“Vincent Lighting has been extremely grateful to be part of the Big Four Bridge lighting project,” said Adam Hayward of Vincent Lighting Systems. “The collaboration of all parties involved—including the Louisville Waterfront Development Corp., our partners at Bright Focus Sales, Philips Color Kinetics, and our VLS project management and programming team—brought a drive and energy that created a marquee image for the city of Louisville.”

ColorBurst Powercore fixtures were mounted to the steel structure under the arches and along the deck, while ColorBlast Powercore fixtures were placed inside hollow beams to mix the light. Together the fixtures display light in colors that can be customized for holidays and city events.

Motion and color in the lights were essential to creating the look and feel the Waterfront Development Corp. desired to add to the area. The quality and reliability of Philips Color Kinetics products were key in delivering an installation that would sustain time and trends.

The changing light patterns “will be the crown jewel of the whole Big Four project,” said David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corp., which oversees the park and the Big Four Bridge for the city. “The lighting should make the Big Four, which is already perhaps the most popular attraction in the city, even more popular.” A project, which took years of collaboration between private donors, the government, and civic groups, has come to fruition to light the Louisville night sky. The lights on the bridge promise to bring vitality and excitement to the Ohio River waterfront.


System Design, Integration, Equipment Supply, and Programming: Vincent Lighting Systems

Lighting Representative: Bright Focus Sales, Inc.


Philips Color Kinetics: ColorBurst Powercore, ColorBlast Powercore

Pharos Architectural Controls: LPC4 and TPC Control