Lighting the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Posted at 8:11 AM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2023-11-16 17:22:14-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Have you noticed the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge has gotten more colorful with age? It's not your imagination.

"When the bridge was first installed (2008), all of the lights that were along the bottom of the bridge were just normal LED lights, so they could only be white. The only thing that had color was the pylons up top," said Sidney Moore, a special projects coordinator with City of Omaha Parks and Recreation.

In 2019, Bob received a major upgrade. The bridge now has 280 light fixtures, each with several bulbs, which together create endless color and effect combinations. The system, operated through a program called Mosaic, is fully programmable. By using numeric codes for each color, Moore can be remarkably precise. She points to the College World Series as an example.

"This year, we worked a lot closer with them. So, every night, we lit up the bridge one side for one team, and one side for the other team."

Instead of using the same color red for NC State and Standford when they played in Game 1, Moore could program Bob to accurately reflect the correct shades.

Bob's new system is just as affordable as it is capable. The new LED bulbs last five times longer than the old halogen bulbs, and yet cost about 10% as much to operate.

At 3,000 feet long, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge sits 60 feet above the Missouri River. It is an equal partnership between Omaha and Council Bluffs and marketed by Visit Omaha.

In addition to having pre-programmed shows, or triggers, and scheduling lights to commemorate national holidays — most recently, Veterans Day — Moore enjoys shining a light on local organizations.

"That just makes it really special for me. Being able to be a part of that, just even in a small way," she said.

In 2021, Bob has or will show support for 30 Omaha-area causes. If you represent a charitable organization (must be a 501(c)(3)) and would like to inquire about getting on Bob's light schedule, call City of Omaha Parks and Recreation, 402-444-5900.

To keep up with bridge happenings, including status updates about why Bob is a certain color, follow on Twitter @BobTheBridge.

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