SAN FRANCISCO, CA (CBS) -- It's hard to think of a crossing more colorful than San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. But now, one of its neighbors, the Bay Bridge, could be stealing some of that attention.
Above San Francisco Bay last night the Bay Bridge sparkled and shimmered, shifting patterns of light moving across the nearly two mile span. On a balcony nearby artist Leo Villareal creates from his laptop using software to sculpt patterns of light. He says, "Really my goal is to create a communal experience. The piece almost becomes a digital campfire that people can gather around."
He is putting the final touches on "Bay Lights" a work of art that will be officially turned on tonight. Villareal's constantly changing light sculpture will run for the next two years. He says, "It does bring a real sense of life and animation to the bridge."
Electricians endured four months of cold nights attaching 25,000 LED lights on the bridge cables.
It's transforming the Bay Bridge that opened to acclaim in 1936 but was quickly overshadowed when the more elegant Golden Gate opened five months later. For more than 75 years now the Golden Gate has been a show horse, the Bay Bridge a workhorse.
Ben Davis says, "The bridges do have a slight rivalry. This is a really hard working bridge, 280,000 trips a day, we do all the heavy lifting and I think everyone the same way that this beautiful work of humanity has its moment to shine."
Ben Davis led the fund raising for the 8 million dollar project, and brought in Villareal, an artist already recognized for large scale light sculptures but never anything this big. Davis says, "It doesn't require an art degree or anything else. It just requires being a human to really appreciate it."
So many people are expected to appreciate it, its projected to generate nearly a hundred million dollars in the local economy and become a tourist attraction to rival the Golden Gate, at least at night.
The Bay Lights premieres tonight at 9 p.m. pacific time, and you can watch it live on the web at thebaylights.org.