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Bay Bridge lights will return in 2025 after $10.5 million raised

A light show illuminating cables on a suspension bridge shine at night.
"The Bay Lights," an LED light show on the Bay Bridge, will return in March 2025 with twice as many lights after going dark over a year ago. | Source: Rick Friedman/Getty Images

The Bay Bridge light show will return next spring after going dark over a year ago, its creator announced.

Ben Davis, founder of the nonprofit Illuminate, which created "The Bay Lights," said the display will return in March 2025 with twice the number of LEDs and will be visible to an even larger section of the Bay Area than before. The group has now raised roughly $10.5 million, about 96% of the $11 million needed to turn the lights back on.

"This project is formally launched today," Davis told The Standard Thursday. "With this $10.5 million pledge, we can get the project in motion."

White lights will be affixed to the northern edge of the bridge's western span and display "abstract patterns" like before, Davis said. But this time the lights will wrap around the cables, so the display will also be visible in the Bayview neighborhood and across the bay in Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley.

"It's this great moment of awe that greets us and unites us," Davis said. "It's a big day. I'm very excited."

The total number of lights, provided by Iowa-based company Musco Lighting, will increase from 25,000 to 50,000 with the display's latest incarnation, which Illuminate has dubbed "The Bay Lights 360."

The original "Bay Lights" display was switched on in 2013 and eventually went dark in March 2023 due to harsh conditions along the bridge that caused the lights to fail.

"It's a perverse environment for electronics," Davis said. "These next [lights] will perform flawlessly for the next decade."

The money has been raised through a $1 million crowdsourced fundraiser and by soliciting $10 million in private donations. Some of the project's biggest donors include WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum and Parnassus Investments founder Jerry Dodson, who have each pledged $1 million, Davis said.

Currently, only $500,000 in crowdsourced funds remain to be raised to meet the project's $11 million goal. Donations can be made at Illuminate's website.