Crossing that Bridge—with Some Help

Automation can guide even the most skittish of bridge crossers. 


I’m not a fan of glass elevators, balconies or bridges. Let’s just say I have an issue with heights (parachuting out of an airplane is not on my bucket list). So the new SR 520 Bridge—one of the world's longest floating bridgesappears particularly daunting.  While height may not be the issue (it's floating), it still intimidates me. SR 520 Bridge spans 7,710 feet, stretching across Lake Washington between Seattle, WA and east communities, such as Redmond and Bellevue. It has more than 7,000 lights, which are part of a lighting system that is crucial to ensuring motorists' safety and comfort.

Lighting on the interconnecting bridge roadway is controlled using Electrical Lighting & Management System software from Gridaptive Technologies, and was designed, installed and commissioned by PLC Multipoint, a lighting manufacturer and system integrator located in Everett, WA.

Meanwhile, Moxa, which specializes in networking and communications hardware, provided rugged embedded computers to dynamically adjust the luminance in real time to be safe, comfortable, efficient and economical. Illumination of all segments of the bridge and in the tunnels is regulated constantly through sensors. Also, light-level transitions are controlled, so that they are within the eye adaption rate of the drivers, eliminating over- or under-lighted conditions, so as to ensure the safety of drivers.

So when I’m traveling over SR 520 someday in the future, I might be afraid—but at least I’ll be safe. I think.

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