Was the Money Spent to Light Fall River’s Braga Bridge Worth It?
In May, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced the completion of Phase One of the project to illuminate the Charles M. Braga Bridge that connects Fall River and Somerset along I-195 over the Taunton River.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation expects the project to be complete by the end of 2023.
The total cost to taxpayers is $8 million.
The Fall River Herald News reported that Phase One is a partial illumination of the center part of the bridge span with 150 LED lights for $650,000.
Phase One is temporary, as other LED lights – the acquisition of which was delayed by the supply chain crisis – will be added to the bridge in the second and final phase. Phase Two will see the bridge's exterior also outfitted with LED lighting.
The remote state-of-the-art programmable lighting provides up to seven color options, though "Braga Blue" will be the default color.
WJAR 10 reported Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan suggested that lighting the bridge might drive tourism.
"There is a bunch of people who use our bridge, and we want them to get off the bridge and spend some time in Fall River, which is what we are trying to do: make it more appealing, more pleasant," Coogan said.
The Braga becomes the fifth Massachusetts bridge outfitted with LED lighting. The lighting was reportedly the idea of Rep. Carole Fiola and championed by outgoing Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
Many of us have now had an opportunity to see the bridge at night in all its "Braga Blue" splendor and consider whether it is worth the money.
Do you think it's worth the $8 million?