LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- The next time you drive along the Ohio River through downtown Louisville, things may look much brighter.

Last week, a three-year project was completed after LED lighting grids were installed on five towers. The new LED light bars rest 156 feet above the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park. A $140,000 state grant allowed the Waterfront Development Corporation to install the lights and replace the older stadium lights.

“Stadium lights have really just now become affordable, so that is kind of why you are seeing them being converted now,” said Gary Pepper, Facilities Director of Waterfront Park. “The rest of the park has already been converted to LED light – 600 lights. This is our last project, and we just finished it last week.”

What was once a grid with 100 bulbs has been replaced with thin panels of LED lights that use 85 percent less energy and will save the city up to 70 percent in electricity costs.

The light bars are fanned out so every square foot has the same amount of light distribution, the edge of the lit area just as strong as the center, something that is nearly impossible to do with stadium lights

At night, the Great Lawn is lit so brightly that those working along Witherspoon Street do not need to rely on their own lights.

“It’s amazing how, honestly, how a little light like that illuminate so much space," said Levi Jecker who works at a Christmas tree lots under the lights. "You can see everything more clearly, and it’s just amazing."

While the lights may appear brighter, they're actually slightly dimmer based on foot candles, the measurement which gauges light intensity.

The new lighting was not just an aesthetic or financial decision.

“It is a constant, daily, weekly event, trying to keep all the lights on, because we have so many of them,' Pepper said. "But safety is our biggest concern."

The Waterfront Development Corporation says all five of these lighting towers will be controlled by cell phone in the next week.

The lights at Waterfront Park are timed to turn on around dusk and shut off at 11 p.m.

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