For years, this color scheme has been a foregone conclusion, and how it came about may have been lost to time. Michael Pyritz, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, says he couldn’t find anyone left in the agency who could explain “how the original paint was selected.” The DOT took “input” on plans for the bridge’s updated appearance in April 2013, but a controversial – and ultimately successful – proposal to illuminate its twin archways with colored LED lighting stole the show.
“There was no real consensus to consider an alternate paint color,” he says. “Most involved seemed to [expect] the paint would remain the familiar colors.”
So, barring a bombshell, the Hoan Bridge – expected to last another 40 to 50 years before a second redecking is required – will retain much the same colors as a sandy beach. Is this a bad thing? Officials in both Tokyo and Glasgow, Scotland, have experimented with installing blue streetlights and believe that the calming hue has slightly reduced crime rates in the illuminated areas. Some Japanese train stations have even positioned blue lights above boarding platforms, hoping they’ll reduce the number of suicide jumpers, a strategy that’s shown some signs of success. Perhaps we could all do with a little more blue (and yellow).