ReLight Ottumwa

LEDs on the Jefferson Street Viaduct


Illuminating an Ottumwa Icon

In 2000, the Light the Viaduct committee conceived the idea of installing accent light arrays to illuminate the historic Jefferson Street Viaduct. This small group worked to raise funds and achieve regulatory approval for the project. In 2001, Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa, IA, installed four 6-lamp metal halide (MH) arrays, one on each quadrant of the river span.

In 2017, a committee formed to guide the Alliant Energy Hometown Rewards (HTR) program for the City of Ottumwa. Committee members worked over a two-year period to achieve several community-wide energy-savings goals. The "reward" for meeting these goals was approximately $50,000 of grant funding for the implementation of an energy efficiency project.

After research and deliberation, the committee unanimously decided to upgrade the bridge accent lights with new color-changing LED technology, again from Musco. Several MSO volunteers were on the HTR committee and led the effort to consult with the City, Musco, and the Bridge View Center to arrange for the purchase and installation of the new lighting system. 

The new lights were were installed April 6-7, 2020, and an illumination celebration took place via Facebook Live on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day: April 22, 2020!


Why did we need new lights?

As the existing lighting arrays were approaching 20-years old, the technology was outdated and replacement parts were no longer being made. Maintenance on the system was becoming an impossible task: one of the non-functioning lights was removed without being replaced and six others simply were burnt out when the arrays were upgraded. The MH fixtures produce only one color and at high energy consumption (1,000 W per fixture).

The new LED system is the latest technology from Musco and comes with a 10-year warranty. The LED fixtures will be able to project nearly any color and pre-programmed "shows" will be able to project multiple colors at once or in a sequence! These new LED fixtures also will be major energy-savers: They draw a maximum 400 W per fixture (bright white), but draw considerably less when other colors (i.e. blue) are selected. These are at least 60% more efficient than the MH system and will reduce the City's energy bill by several thousand dollars annually.


So who paid for this?

No City funds were used for the upgrade project. The Hometown Rewards funds were from a pool of funding that energy companies were legislatively required to spend on energy efficiency programs. The HTR program provided approximately 60% of the funding required for the project. MSO volunteers wrote grant requests to the Wapello County Foundation and the Fahrney Beautification Foundation for the remainder of the funds. The WCF provided approximately 15% of the project and Fahrney provided the remaining 25%. 

Locally Sourced

Keeping the Money Here

Everything in this project was done with the intent to keep the money as local as possible. Headquartered on the Square in Oskaloosa, Musco Lighting has production plants in Oskaloosa and Muscatine. The specialty light fixtures were made at the Oskaloosa facility and the poles and electronic controls were fabricated in Muscatine. The fence protecting the wall-mounted array was built and installed by Gullett Fence of Ottumwa and the recognition signs were co-designed by MSO and the Ottumwa Arts Council.

Want Control?

You can pick the color!

Head on over to this page if you want to choose the color for a night!