With the list of cities experiencing some type of mass-casualty violence growing in the past few weeks—Munich; Nice, France; Baton Rouge; Dallas; Baghdad; Istanbul; Paris; and Orlando, Fla.—some communities have expressed their resolve against the forces perpetrating these acts by lighting up landmark buildings and infrastructure.
In Orlando, for example, the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) recently lit up a landmark bridge with the gay pride movement’s rainbow colors, which have become associated with the hashtag #OrlandoUnited as a very public message of solidarity with the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12.
On July 12 at 2:02 a.m.—one month to the moment after the Pulse shooting began—CFX officials and its maintenance contractor, Jorgensen Contract Services LLC, flipped the switch and lit up the Lake Underhill Bridge on state Road 408.
The moment was instigated by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who, just days after the Pulse tragedy, used CFX’s regularly scheduled board meeting to ask leaders to shine those colors on the bridge.
“That [shooting] event shook this community,” says Michelle Maikisch, chief of staff and public information officer for CFX. “When we started calling people about it, they offered to donate time, services and products to the community.”
John McPherson, vice president at Jorgensen, says the contractor developed a plan for adding the lighting, with the initial estimate coming in at more than $200,000. After discussions with lighting distributor SESCO Lighting and Phillips, the lighting manufacturer, the firms offered to donate the equipment. Likewise, Jorgensen and local lighting supplier Lamp Sales decided to donate their services. In the end, Maikisch says CFX’s only expense was the costs of shipping the equipment to Orlando.
McPherson says the installation includes 24 LED lights and a controller on each pier, with 16 smaller LEDs on each of the bridge’s two cable stays and eight larger lights located around the deck beam. The team finished work just prior to July 12.