Light pole art and light wands have been added on and around the Casco Bay Bridge to add a visual element as motorists drive between Portland and South Portland. The project is a joint venture between the two cities and the Maine Department of Transportation. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

SOUTH PORTLAND — The city’s latest works of public art aren’t in a park or on the walls of a municipal building, but on the highly traveled bridge that spans the Fore River.

The project to beautify the entry to the Casco Bay Bridge includes decorative light wands that shine at night. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

South Portland officials have teamed up with their counterparts in Portland and with the Maine Department of Transportation to add some artistic flair to the 22-year-old Casco Bay Bridge between South Portland and the Portland peninsula.

The plan is to wrap 20 new light poles with 5-foot high decorative sleeves and to install light wands with laser wave cutouts that light up at night at both entrances to the bridge. Shrubs will be planted near the light wands.

The effort to beautify the bridge began in 2018 when Harriman Associates was hired to help South Portland with “gateway aesthetic improvements” that had been laid out in the updated South Portland Comprehensive Plan, according to Planning and Development Director Tex Haeuser.

The city brought in Portland and Maine DOT as partners in part to coincide with DOT’s replacement of the bridge’s aging light poles.

“We’re pleased we’ve been able to fold this municipality-driven artistic effort into the larger bridge lighting contract. We hope the attractive landscaping and artistic lighting elements will help support economic opportunity in the nearby neighborhoods,” Maine DOT Public Information Officer Paul Merrill said.

South Portland had originally wanted to also include banners with sequential messages on the light poles that would promote the city, but Haeuser said there were concerns about how the banners would fare in windy conditions.

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