Orange Beach, AL – (OBA) – The local group hoping to illuminate the Perdido Pass Bridge is in the process of seeing what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow on the span over Orange Beach’s gateway to the Gulf of Mexico for the local charter fishing fleet and recreational fishermen.
“We are slowly marching along in that contribution area and really waiting until our permits are in and then we’ll be full bore after that,” Tom Clark CEO of Light Our Bridge said. “We’ve raised enough to cover our marketing, the billboard on the expressway. We bought some lighting measurement technology to help us so we would know where we are relative to lighting around that bridge area.”
But the key to everything for the project will be getting the go ahead from Fish and Wildlife which can sometimes be a lengthy process from a few months to many years depending on the issues the project may raise for the ecosystem.
“We’ve been working on that for months and got some good resources and got some expertise in that area with the request to Wildlife and Fisheries,” Clark said. “That’s the lynchpin for us so we’re looking forward of going through the process with them. We’ve got a lot of analysis and facts and I’m sure they’ll do a good job working with us.”
The permit will even determine how much it will cost for the lights based on what is allowed by the federal agency.
“Until we get through the permitting process and determine how many of the luminaries we are going to need we can’t give an exact cost as to how much that’s going to be,” Communications Officer Kate Politz said.
Politz said it’s even hard to come up with a design without first knowing what if anything will be allowed. The group is encouraged by the bridges already illuminated around the country. But one part of the design is already set in stone.
“We’re working with a company called Signify which has lighted bridges all over the world,” she said. “They have a special amber LED technology. The very wave length that is friendly for turtles. That is incorporated into the design. In other words, even in turtle nesting season these lights will not affect the turtles. Amber and red are OK for turtles and the best one is the amber because its closely approximates a particular color and that’s incorporated into the design pretty much since we started working with Signify.”
Recently, the Alabama Charter Fishing Association has endorsed the bridge lighting project stating “The Perdido Pass Bridge Illumination project is the most positive safety idea that has been proposed in years” per Tom Steber, the Past President of the group. ( Read Letter Here )
The board, which consists of Clark, Politz and Chief Operations Officer Fred Armstrong, is working to get a website with sponsorship levels up and running and hopes to have it operational with a few weeks. Clark said if the permit is denied the money raised will be donated locally.
“We would take the funds in hand and give it to a local charity,” Clark said. “Turn right around and do something local because this is a local contribution and locally founded.”
The website the goal is to finish the lighting project by the end of 2023, according to an item in the FAQ list.
“This will be determined by the amount and rate of contributions given,” the website states.