el paso downtown railroad archesYour route through I-10 in downtown El Paso just got a little more colorful.

The downtown railroad arches are back and brighter than ever. Engineers flipped the switch on this weekend after about three months of renovations and years of disrepair. Crews cleaned up the arches, gave them a fresh coat of paint and installed a new lighting system with hundreds of new LEDs. The new display is a little different than the original design. The lights were replaced with new LEDs, which are able to display thousands of different color variations, according to Myles Cirillo, a system engineer from Philips Color Kinetics. The same company that lights up the Empire State Building in New York.

el paso downtown railroad arches 01The fifteen groups of three arches march along the south side of I-10 bordering the rail yard as they welcome those traveling west into downtown and follow those exiting downtown from East Franklin. They were first installed in 1997. The original lights were fiber optic cables placed inside tubes. However, the lights were turned off a few years later due to many maintenance issues.

The new system is expected to stay on year round for years to come. The project is part of the I-10 make over that the city of El Paso approved in 2012. The cost for the project is $1.8 million and will include new fencing and landscape, according to a presentation shown to city council last year.

Photos by Ceasar Torres