Hillsboro's Main Street Bridge Now Home of Public Art: Nightly Light Show
Concrete light rail arch hosts nightly LED light show
A rainbow of colorful lights now greets pedestrians, drivers, and MAX train passengers traveling through Hillsboro at night. Beginning at sunset and continuing through midnight, the City of Hillsboro’s iconic Main Street Bridge is now home of a nightly display of public art.
Known throughout Washington County for its distinctive concrete arch in support of TriMet’s light rail MAX train, the Main Street Bridge will light up each night in an assortment of reds, greens, blues and other color combinations visible in both directions. A light-emitting diode (LED) projector subtlly fades the colors into each other, with slow light movement across the arch, so that drivers traveling on Hillsboro’s Main Street are not distracted by the color movement. The light show debuted Tuesday, July 21, 2015.
“The Main Street Bridge is a landmark coming into Hillsboro, and now it is even more beautiful both for travelers and for the neighborhood,” said Valerie Otani, Public Art Supervisor for the Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department. “We strive to include public art throughout our community, and this helps to further identify the bridge’s colorful character as a unique and visible gateway to Downtown Hillsboro, and to reflect how the Hillsboro community values creativity and innovation.”
In an upgrade from the blue light bulbs that previously outlined the arch, the new light display will bring a more dynamic array of colors into the everyday experience of residents. The project will also reduce long-term maintenance costs associated with the replacement of the blue light bulbs. In addition, the light bulb fixtures were near the end of their lifespan and in need of replacement.
Once a wooden trestle railroad bridge, the Main Street Bridge was an innovative solution to allow for the expansion of the roadway without using a center support. Historically, the dip in the road caused accidents in icy weather, sending cars sliding into the center post. When Hillsboro secured its place as part of the MAX light rail Blue Line, 14 bridge alternatives were considered, but the concrete arch proved to be both financially competitive and aesthetically pleasing. At the time of its construction in 1997, the Main Street Bridge was the only reinforced concrete arch supporting a major transportation facility.
The Main Street Bridge light display will change color pallettes with each season - emphasizing red and green during winter, or gold and orange in the fall – and will feature special displays for holidays. For more information about the public art program, visit our Public Art Program webpage.