Three bridges spanning the Arkansas River across downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock will be illuminated by year’s end thanks to a $2.4 million gift from Entergy Arkansas and an assorted group of businesses and governmental entities.

The announcement was made Monday morning (April 22) by Entergy Arkansas President Hugh McDonald and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.

McDonald said the gift is part of a celebration of the electric company’s 100th anniversary in Arkansas. ¬†”This project is very much in line with what we do – light things up,” he said.

“Arkansas native and entrepreneur Harvey Couch was already a leader on the national stage when he chaired our state’s centennial celebration in 1936,” said McDonald. “From our company’s beginning in 1913 until now, we continue to through our support of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, to invest in progressive efforts, like the bridge lighting project to attract visitors.”

Entergy Arkansas, the Clinton Foundation, the Pulaski County Bridge Authority, Philips Lighting Company, Koontz Electric, and the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock are all investing in the project.

The lighting will be LED lighting and should be completed by the end of 2013.  They will cover the Main Street Bridge, the Junction Bridge, and the Clinton Bridge.

“We are extremely grateful for this once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by Entergy Arkansas,” said Stodola. “Their generosity will help transform our communities and will be yet another way to attract visitors to Little Rock, North Little Rock and the entire metropolitan area.”

Stodola also said that the LED lighting is expected to lower the current costs of electricity to the three bridges.

“Our preliminary estimates indicate that the cost of the electricity for the lighting of these three bridges will actually be less than what we’re spending now. To put it in context, it’s about $880 for all three bridges monthly,” said Stodola.

You can view an artist rendition of the lit bridges at this link. Entergy Arkansas also launched a new web site – EntergyArkansas100.com – to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company’s existence.