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San Francisco’s other bridge is lit up

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    Rain drenches the crowd gathered behind Ferry Plaza in San Francisco, California, to see the grand lighting of the Bay Lights project, an installation featuring 25,000 LED lights on the Bay Bridge suspension span on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The $8 million privately-financed project was built by New York artist Leo Villareal. (Karl Mondon/Contra Costa Times/MCT)

It’s the world’s largest LED art project on the Bay area’s other iconic bridge.

“Bay Lights” consists of 25,000 LED lights on the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Artist Leo Villareal controls the display through his personal computer. He flips the switch tonight.

“The idea is to augment these iconic structures which are already here and kind of the symbols of the Bay area, by adding another layer to them of light controlled by software,” Villareal told Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West."

The $8 million project is funded entirely by private donations from some of the biggest names in technology, including Marissa Mayer, chief executive officer of Yahoo! Inc., and Marc Pincus, CEO and chairman of Zynga Inc.

“I live and work in the city, my office overlooks the bridge,” said project supporter Jean-Pierre Conte, chairman of Genstar Capital LLC. “When in your life are you going to have an opportunity to take a major traffic artery, beautiful bridge and turn it into a world class art installation?”

The artwork spans almost 2 miles in length, requiring some 100,000 feet of cable for power. The energy bill for the two- year project is expected to run $30.14 a night.

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