ALTON, Ill. – A big change is coming to light up a St. Louis area landmark that has lost its luster.

The Clark Bridge in Alton once drew worldwide acclaim, but it no longer lights up the night.

When the bridge opened nearly 30 years ago, in 1994, it was really something to see at night.

Every one of the 44 cables connecting to the bridge deck had a pair of lights straight up the length of the entire cable – 176 lights total.

“You’ve got 176 of them and only one of them works,” Alton Alderman Ray Strebel said.

If you look at the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in Downtown St. Louis, you see lights shining up from the deck with spectacular effect, much like the Clark Bridge used to. Now, it has only streetlights shining down on the pavement. The public works department has received complaints about how shadowy it is.

“The director, Mike Parsons, came to me and said, ‘I’ve had complaints about the lighting on the bridge. It’s not like it used to be. It’s kind of giving like a shading (effect).’ What should we do?” Strebel said.

Strebel spearheaded the effort to re-light the bridge.

The City of Alton has hired St. Louis Lighting Group to give the bridge a near-million-dollar nighttime makeover. The group recently completed projects at the new CityPark soccer stadium in Downtown St. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Garden, using the same manufacturer that built the fixtures to light Mt. Rushmore and Niagara Falls.

The new LED Clark Bridge lights can be programmed for millions of color and shade possibilities.

People will be talking about the bridge again, according to Alton Mayor David Goins.

“They’re going to talk about, ‘Man, I came across that Alton bridge. It was all lit up!’ Depending upon whether it was the Fourth of July, it was red, white, and blue. It was October. It was pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Opening Day for the Cardinals.”

“In ‘94 when the bridge was built, it was coined the Super Bridge. Now, it will truly be showcased as it was intended,” Strebel said.

Most of the money for the project is coming from ARPA and tourism funds; none comes from the city’s general revenue. There will be an estimated 73% savings in energy costs.

The goal is to flip the switch in the spring.