All photos by Larry Rippel
PITTSBURGH – County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced today that Energy Flow, the popular wind-powered LED lighting display on the Rachel Carson Bridge, will end its 18-month run on Sunday, April 8, 2018. The deinstallation and removal of the lights and wind turbines will begin on Monday, April 9, to allow for rehabilitation work on the bridge to begin later this summer.
“Thank you to County Council, Mayor Peduto, Covestro, Duquesne Light, Riverlife, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Steering Commission, Andrea Polli, Ron Gdovic and WindStax for supporting this welcoming and colorful sight for residents and visitors alike,” said Fitzgerald. “Our region always shines because of the partnerships and collaborations we see day in this region. Energy Flow was an embodiment of that cooperation. While we’re sad to see it end, we’re excited for the future of the Rachel Carson Bridge and the future, recycled use of the installation in our community.”
Energy Flow was selected by the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Steering Commission after a national call for bridge lighting ideas to celebrate the city’s 2016 bicentennial. A collaboration between environmental artist Andrea Polli and Ron Gdovic of WindStax, a Pittsburgh-based wind turbine manufacturer, Energy Flow included 27,000 LED lights powered by sixteen wind turbines installed on the bridge. The lights changed color and pattern to represent data about wind speed collected at the Allegheny River site.
“We are very grateful to the county and project partners. The project is the perfect marriage of art and science and a fitting tribute to the legacy of innovation in Pittsburgh, which made it a right fit for the Pittsburgh Bicentennial,” said City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.
Originally intended as a four-month, temporary installation, Energy Flow debuted during Light UP Night festivities on November 18, 2016. Due to the public response to the project, the county extended the run into 2018.
“Covestro is honored to have played a part in bringing this unique and innovative display to life,” said Jerry MacCleary, chairman and CEO, Covestro LLC. “Illuminating the Rachel Carson Bridge with wind energy not only complemented our city’s focus on sustainability, but also complemented our iconic skyline.”
Energy Flow was presented by Covestro. Installation, electric infrastructure and fiber optics provided by Duquesne Light Company and DQE Communications and logistical support provided by Allegheny County. Additional partnership support was provided by City of Pittsburgh, Riverlife, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
“We were proud to lend our expertise and be a part of the innovative lighting installation that was enjoyed by thousands of people over the past 18 months,” said Rich Riazzi, president and CEO of Duquesne Light. “We look forward to being a part of the transition as the lighting takes on a new life as a reimagined installation in downtown Pittsburgh.”
The LED lights will be reused in a separate project, while the wind turbines will be reclaimed by WindStax for use elsewhere.
“We want to thank our project and funding partners and Andrea Polli and Ron Gdovic for their creative vision, which made the Rachel Carson Bridge come alive with dancing lights to the delight of thousands of viewers throughout the year,” said Vivien Li, Riverlife President and CEO. “Energy Flow created a lovely after-dark destination on the riverfront, which is what we love to see as we work together collectively to make Pittsburgh’s riverfronts vibrant and fun.”
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) announced yesterday that as part of a larger alleyway enhancement project, the PDP with the support of the EQT Children’s Theater Festival, will light Garrison Place between Exchange Way and Liberty Avenue with elements from Energy Flow. The new piece will be called Garrison Canal. With the support of the Herb Burger Memorial Fund and Duquesne Light, Garrison alleyway will be turned into an imaginary underwater future world of big data. Visitors to the Canal “swim” below a wave of thousands of shimmering lights that transform color and animate in response to real time changes in the local weather conditions from a weather station in the alley.
“We are thrilled with success of Energy Flow and are very excited about our collaboration with the artist to re-envision this work for another location in downtown,” said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “In the spirit of environmentalism and re-use, components of the concept and equipment will adorn the streets of our city, continuing the legacy that this piece has created. We look forward to its next incarnation in downtown as Garrison Canal.”
The Rachel Carson (Ninth Street) Bridge will close to vehicular and pedestrian traffic later this summer as an approximately 18-month rehabilitation of the bridge begins. The project will include construction of a new concrete deck, structural steel repairs, painting, and upgrades to the bridge’s draining system.
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Amie M. Downs
Office of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald
101 Courthouse │ 436 Grant Street │ Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-350-6500 │ Fax: 412-350-6512
All photos by Larry Rippel