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Pakistani American Helps Turn Los Angeles Harbor Bridge into Nighttime Star

April 9, 2005. Pakistan Link

By Loretta A. Conley




On January 30, 2005, when Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn threw the switch and the lights sparkled for the first time on the Vincent Thomas Bridge it was hard to determine who beamed brighter: The new blue LED lights or the residents of San Pedro, California, who after 17 years of setbacks finally saw their bridge adorned with the lights they had long envisioned. Funding, energy shortages, migrating birds and a pair of nesting peregrine falcons had all thwarted previous attempts to string lights across the mile-long span. While frustrating, the delays proved beneficial in the end. Advances in lighting technology enabled the ideal solution - Blue LEDs, which weren’t available in 1988 when the campaign began to light the bridge. The Blue LED lamps that crown the bridge’s cables were provided by Southern California-located LEDtronics Inc., owned by Pakistani-American Pervaiz Lodhie. “They work as we expected, but seeing all the LED lamps lit up was amazing,” remarked Lodhie.

Poised elegantly above the main channel of the Los Angeles Harbor, the Vincent Thomas Bridge serves a multitude of functions in the local community and beyond. It is the official welcoming monument for the City of Los Angeles. As the 3rd longest suspension bridge in California, behind the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, it is a source of local pride. And, the Vincent Thomas Bridge plays an integral part in the economies of Los Angeles, Southern California and the United States as it is the main conduit through which goods flow from the Los Angeles Harbor to the nation’s network of highways and stores.

Lodhie was brought into the project by Lighting Design Alliance of Long Beach who, on the behalf of the Vincent Thomas Bridge Lighting Committee, investigated LEDs as a viable solution for lighting the bridge. LEDs are small but strikingly bright lights that use only a fraction of the electricity incandescent lights consume. Additionally, they operate for years and are nearly indestructible. For over five years, Lodhie collaborated with community leaders, civil agencies and environmentalists to develop an LED light that would be acceptable to all parties. Several variations of LED lamps were tested before the solar-powered, 360-Blue LED lamp received the go-ahead.



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