Glimmer of hope: Bridge lights could return in future

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 8, 2018


NATCHEZ — Lights could return to the Mississippi River Bridge, officials say, but no time soon.

Local leaders and representatives of the Mississippi Department of Transportation met Wednesday to discuss the removal of lights on the bridge, and Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he came away from the meeting with some hope for a return of the river bridge’s illumination.

Email newsletter signup

“They didn’t tell us ‘No, it’s not going to happen,’” Grennell said. “There’s hope for reinstating the lights. Not the old lights — there’s an opportunity to enhance.”

Grennell said the meeting — which included three MDOT representatives, Grennell; Butch Brown, former mayor and former executive director of MDOT; and a representative of Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft, among others — included discussion of possibly placing LED fixtures on the bridge.

Because LED lights shine brighter on a lower voltage, Grennell said, the new bulbs could save the city of Vidalia money in electricity and be cheaper to install.

The question of who will pay for the installation, however, is still up in the air.

The estimated cost of the LED lights — not including the cost of installation — Brown said, is approximately $200,000.

“I said Adams County and Natchez would put up the $200,000,” Brown said. “I said, ‘We’ll take that option.’”

Grennell, however, said he would prefer state or federal funding to cover the costs incurred by replacing the lights.

“I’m not interested in the city spending any money to replace the lights,” Grennell said. “The city and county, we have enough on our plate right now without having to pay for lights for the bridges.”

Grennell said he is in the process of setting up a second meeting between MDOT leaders, himself and Buz Craft soon.

“In other words,” Grennell said, “there’s optimism there that we can possibly get the bridges illuminated again,” Grennell said. “It’s not going to be in place soon, though. It’s not going to be in place by the time the bridge is complete.”