SAULT STE. MARIE — A bridge connecting the U.P. to Canada got a little bit more colorful Wednesday night. The International Bridge in Sault St. Marie turned on its brand new LED lighting system.

The light array is color coordinated on each nation’s side to represent the colors of their respective flags. The new lights aren’t all about looks: installation of the system resulted in over $13,000 dollars in rebates from area electric providers, and officials expect it to reduce energy usage by around fifty five percent.

The modernized lighting strategy is something the Michigan Department of Transportation — which maintains the International Bridge — is utilizing more and more on taxpayer–funded road projects.

“This is kind of a nice innovative, energy–saving thing that we’re trying to promote wherever possible on new projects that require lighting because it’s cheaper, and it makes sense to save the taxpayers money,” said Dan Weingarten, Communications Officer for the MDOT Superior Region.

Next year’s roundabout project in Ishpeming will feature LED lighting, and a major LED project is also happening at the I–75 and US–2 interchange in St. Ignace.

[Photo courtesy Michigan Department of Transportation]