Atlantic Boulevard Bridge sets sails for resident and tourist enjoyment

Oct. 7, 2019

Bridge renovations—including dramatic computerized lighting—have become a must see in Pompano Beach day and night

The $5 million renovation of the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge in Pompano Beach has turned a 65-year-old functional structure into a local icon for viewers to enjoy, both above and below the overpass, whether riding in a vehicle, boating on the waterway, or taking a leisurely stroll next to the channel. 

The goal of the renovation project was to transform the bridge from a mere vehicle crossing into a must-see destination point in Pompano Beach. Above the bridge, located at 100 North Riverside Drive, are two large tensioned sails at each end of the roadway. For dramatic effect, a computer-operated lighting system was installed to allow the sails to change colors to denote special occasions. The nautical sails were specifically chosen to parallel the illuminated sails featured on the City’s Beach Parking Garage.

Underneath the bridge, newly christened artwork welcomes boaters and sightseers alike to the new promenade that connects the north and south sides of Atlantic Boulevard leading to a viewing plaza on the Intracoastal Waterway. The artwork, designed by local artist nautical Dennis Friel, represents another effort by the city to turn Pompano Beach into a point of interest for tourists and residents from around South Florida.  

The project also included design and construction enhancements to the bridge facade, tender house, and jersey barriers, in addition to the large tensioned sails at each end of the bridge—four in total.  The computerized up-lighting served to spotlight the beauty of the bridge and all of its enhancements, including the artwork on the bridge facades. Land-based lighting illuminates the pedestrian esplanade under the bridge that connects restaurants and buildings from the south and north. 

The design-build team—led by Brandon Rhodes of Burkhardt Construction—was responsible for complete design, permitting, and coordination with the Florida DOT (FDOT).

“One of the big challenges for the design-build team was to design the lighting for the bridge facade, tender house facade, mural, under-bridge accent, and large tensioned sails so that it complemented each aspect of the structure without fighting for attention,” said Ryan Huff, Principal of Lighting Dynamics, who was instrumental in the design and selection of the lighting. “An additional challenge was to identify a lighting solution that did not upset resident turtles during their nesting season.”

A priority for the team was to provide an energy-efficient light source that could perform in a wet location and still deliver sharp contrasting red, green, blue, amber, and static white illumination. The team decided to use flooding and grazing light techniques to highlight areas around the structure. Flood lighting was specified above and below the bridge, while grazing was selected to complement the lighting scheme.  

For the large tensioned sails and accenting under the bridge the team chose Dyna Flood QA/QW, a high-power LED flood unit that utilizes Acclaim Lighting’s quad color technology with a choice of RGBA or RGBW. The Dyna Flood QA/QW features an auto-switching multi-voltage power supply and on-board touch-sensitive menu to easily program daily and seasonal color changes. The fixture has been specified for dynamic illumination of facades, structures, landscapes, and monuments. It produces 1600 lumens while consuming only 60 watts. 

“The amber quad chip in Dyna Flood QA/QW from Acclaim Lighting even meets Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requirements during turtle nesting season,” said Huff.

Grazing lighting at night is an important element for the bridge facade, mural, and tender house. For the bridge facade, Dyna Graze HO Exterior DMX RGBW from Acclaim Lighting was specified based on its ability to provide class-leading output, robust housing for water locations, and glare shield for outdoor linear grazing. Delivering up to 1066 lumens per fixture, Dyna Graze HO Exterior DMX provided an asymmetric wall wash to highlight the unique structure.  

The mural and tender house required a different grazing light source to showcase their aesthetic details.  The artwork includes six large panels—some as big as 70 ft by 10 ft—plus corner details. The panels feature about 50 different species of marine life, blended throughout an ever-changing underwater and seaside landscape. The underwater parts are playful, ethereal, and evoke a sense of peering into the magic below the sea. A few Pompano Beach landmarks can be spotted throughout the murals, including the Hillsboro Lighthouse.

To highlight the mural’s details and tender house, the design-build team specified AL Graze AC, a high-power, low-profile, outdoor linear LED fixture. Featuring a robust IP66 housing for the wet locations around the bridge, AL Graze AC has an onboard AC + DMX driver and linkable cable system for ultimate lighting control. 

“Day or night, the Atlantic Bridge is a must-see landmark in Pompano Beach,” Huff said. “Everyone was ecstatic with the results, including residents and visitors.”

About The Author: Bloom is senior vice president of Falls Communications in Cleveland, Ohio.

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