In this Aug. 9, 2017, file photo, stars rotate in the night sky over the East Branch of the Penobscot River, in this time exposure at the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument near Patten. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

WATERVILLE, Maine — Waterville and Winslow, connected by the 113-year-old Ticonic Bridge that spans the Kennebec River, will spend $88,000 to waive the state’s dark-sky lighting requirements on the replacement structure.

Waterville City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday, with Councilor Claude Francke opposed, to spend $44,000 on the project. Neighboring town Winslow has agreed to cover half of the expenses and cost of electricity to run the lights, Waterville City Manager Stephen Daly said.

The project will replace the existing obsolete five-lane roadway Ticonic Bridge with a new, safer and more modern structure, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

Maine is known for its majestic dark sky and stargazing because obtrusive, artificial lighting is intentionally minimized in areas of the state. Some communities have adopted dark sky-friendly policies or taken measures to protect the night sky — along with wildlife and the surrounding environment — from light pollution. But as Waterville reimagines its downtown and prepares for the next phase of revitalization, city officials say lighting that prioritizes safety and aesthetics is important, as is the relationship with its neighboring town.

Lantern-style lighting would be placed across the new bridge, similar to that planned for downtown Waterville once the first phase of revitalization is completed this fall, Daly said.

Councilors also discussed working with an electric company to install dimmable lights and motion sensors as possible ways to minimize the effects on the environment.

“This is a great solution to having to adopt [dark-sky lighting], which would be more environmentally friendly,” Council Chairperson Rebecca Green said. “But this way, at least we could turn the lights down for part of the time and keep the aesthetics.”

People live in Waterville and the surrounding area because of the beauty of the Ticonic Falls, and trying to appreciate the falls under the glow of bright lights detracts from the experience to a certain extent, Councilor Thomas Klepach said.

“Maine is one of the dark sky spots in the United States,” Francke said. “The city of Portland recently adopted a dark-sky ordinance, and several other communities have as well. But Waterville is now going to spend extra money to be non-dark sky. I don’t see why we should spend extra money to be non-environmentally friendly.”

But he agreed with Green that finding a balance that keeps pedestrians and traffic safe while also mitigating light pollution is a smart way to approach the project.

Daly said there would be no cost if the city decided not to seek a waiver from MDOT and if the agency put dark-sky lighting along the bridge.

Initially, Mayor Jay Coelho and Green had the same thought, they said. It’s a tough call, Green said. Coelho said he didn’t want to spend the money but noted the olive branch that Winslow has extended.

“We’re behind the eight ball because we pushed it back and we waited,” he said. “I think $44,000 is a small price to pay to agree with Winslow on something.”

A $150,000 contingency account for downtown renovations is one possible source of funding, Daly said. Councilors might also choose to use tax-increment financing revenues.

A continuation of the downtown Waterville design across the Kennebec River could have a bonding effect on the two communities, Daly said. It wouldn’t surprise the city manager if Winslow carried the theme down Bay Street because the town is working to redevelop that area into what it’s calling the future downtown, he said.