Weather Forecast


Highway 61 bridge designs refined

Plans for the new Hastings bridge are starting to settle. The Visual Quality Team presented its most recent refinements to the city council Tuesday evening.

The team has settled on a free-standing arch rather than a basket-handle arch. The 545-foot free-standing arch will be the longest in North America, said visual quality manager Brad Touchstone. The style is more open, he said, and doesn't disrupt the view of the sky above or the river.

Along with updates on pier designs and the stone mural planned for the plaza under the south end, Touchstone discussed possible lighting options for both the main span and the arch.

"Lighting is something that is also of key importance," Touchstone said.

Deciding how to light the structure in a manner that fits Hastings is only one matter. The Visual Quality Team also wants to address concerns about lighting the bridge itself.

"There are a lot of issues regarding night sky, light pollution," he said.

Lighting needs to consider riverboats to avoid causing potentially dangerous conditions for nighttime traffic.

One lighting option is a down-facing LED highlight on the arch that hints at the shape rather than bathes it in light. LEDs are preferable, Touchstone said, because of their durability and 50,000 hours of life.

More refinements to the bridge design are coming. The Visual Quality Team will be holding an open house at City Hall Sept. 22 - the same day as the official groundbreaking. Residents are invited to the event to see for themselves what the bridge plans look like and to offer their own input. The team will meet again Oct. 13. At that meeting, they hope to finalize many of the plans already discussed and also get a sense for how lighting will be done. At that time they'll also discuss the color.