MUSCATINE, Iowa–13 years ago, as part of a Leadership Muscatine project, colored lights went up on the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge over the Mississippi River for the first time. A popular sight for residents, visitors, and photographers, many throughout the community took pride in the bridge’s welcoming appearance. “The color-changing lights on the bridge have become an icon for Muscatine, and I am always amazed at the number of people who comment about them,” remarked Musco International Engineering Manager Jim Berns.
However, the bridge’s lights went dark only 10 years after their installation when work to repaint the bridge in 2017 damaged them.
Since that time, Musco lighting has looked for a way to repair or replace the lighting system, bringing back a fun feature of one of Muscatine’s most recognizable landmarks. In the past, the company did not make lighting similar to that used in the original system. However, Musco has since expanded its product lines to include bridge lighting and has designed and will install a custom system on the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge at no cost to the city. Made in Muscatine, the new LED light fixtures will have the ability to change colors to create different effects and to mark different holidays. Because Musco will make them locally with easily interchanged parts, replacing worn or damaged pieces of equipment will prove much easier than in the past. Musco has also changed the layout of the lights’ electrical system, making it easier to maintain without the need for specialized equipment.
Work has gotten underway on the bridge re-lighting efforts. Musco General Manager Brett Nelson anticipates the project will wrap up by mid to late September.
As Musco approaches its goal of replacing and improving the lights on the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge, Nelson says everyone at the company takes great pride in the project. “Even when the lighting equipment was not manufactured by Musco, the Musco Team has always been proud of our involvement in lighting the bridge going back to the original project in 2008,” he shared. “With this renovation now using actual Musco lighting fixtures, there will be an even bigger sense of pride knowing the equipment is produced by the Musco Team for enjoyment of the community.”
Along with upgrading the bridge lights, Musco also has plans to help showcase another Muscatine landmark, its newly redone water tower. Nelson detailed, “Musco is working directly with Muscatine Power and Water to provide lighting fixtures, pole mounting, and control systems to enhance the lighting on the water tower.” Still in the engineering phase, Nelson said he does not yet have a time frame for when this second lighting display will begin to light up the night.