Cree and Musco Team Up to Transform Lighting of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently completed its LED lighting overhaul to the East Span of the iconic San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge. After three years of testing and designing custom fixtures, Musco Lighting provided an energy-efficient LED lighting solution featuring Cree® (Nasdaq: CREE) XLamp® XM-L LEDs to illuminate the picturesque suspension tower and bridge deck. In total, the bridge now employs nearly 1,600 custom-built LED light fixtures, leveraging more than 51,500 high-performance LEDs, lighting the entire East Span at an estimated energy savings of 50 percent and lifetime of 15 years — more than seven times longer than previously deployed lighting technologies.

Bay Bridge Illuminated by Cree LEDs“We wanted the East Span of the Bay Bridge to not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also cost-effective and functional for travelers,” said Andrew Fremier, deputy executive director at Bay Area Toll Authority. “The new LED lighting solution by Musco using Cree’s LED technology truly improves the way residents and visitors experience the Bay Bridge, providing crisp, brilliant light for all who cross it, while delivering energy efficiency and payback for years.”

Bay Bridge

Designed to withstand the greatest of earthquakes, while still providing a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers, the new bridge required long-lasting, efficient and user-friendly lighting for the new 2,047-foot East Span. After deeming a metal halide light source as an unsuitable solution for this application, Musco drew on its experience as an innovative leader in lighting solutions to deliver uniform light with glare control using compact, custom designed fixtures, pleasing both bridge architects and engineers. Cree’s XM-L LED light source provided the unique combination of high efficacy in a compact footprint that enabled Musco to reduce fixture size by reducing the number of LEDs and optics in the system.

“As LEDs evolved and continued to become more efficient, we knew the technology would allow us to develop a light fixture that could meet the bridge’s meticulous design requirements with no compromises,” said Jeff Rogers, vice president of developmental sales, Musco Lighting. “Cree delivered the performance, reliability and design flexibility for us to create a custom designed solution. Once we demonstrated our custom solution using Cree’s XM-L LEDs, Caltrans and their design partners believed in our vision.”

In addition to the roadway and suspension cables, the East Span now features custom, optically directed Musco LED light fixtures along the bridge deck, bike and pedestrian paths, tunnel entrance and self-anchored suspension tower. As a result, Bay Bridge travelers benefit from a uniform and balanced bright light, delivered using precise optics that guide the light exactly where it is needed to help eliminate light pollution and glare. Boasting a long-term warranty, the LED fixtures also help improve the driver experience by eliminating the need for frequent maintenance to replace or repair lights. 

“We’re proud to work with companies like Musco that have a reputation for delivering high-quality LED lighting systems. Through the pursuit of an inspired lighting design and its confidence in Cree, Musco was able to create a lighting solution for this unique challenge,” said Paul Thieken, director of marketing, LED Components, Cree. “This process substantiates our commitment to relentless innovation and proves that pushing the boundaries for LED light output and efficacy can accelerate our customers’ ability to develop cost-effective, high-output LED lighting products.”

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