guide4 min read

A guide to lighting bridges

Bridges are more than structures; they often become iconic landmarks that help to define a city. You only need to think of London Bridge. Beyond their practical purpose of spanning rivers, roads, and railways to provide safe passage and reduce travel time, they are nighttime icons, imbuing towns and cities with character and charm. At Acrospire, we understand the pivotal role of high-quality lighting in accentuating bridge architecture and creating inviting environments for pedestrians after dark. Whether a modern cable bridge or a historic stone one, each bridge demands its own lighting strategy to truly shine.

The artistry of light

In today’s design landscape, light is more than just illumination—it’s an art form. Designers harness the power of light to transform bridges into inspirational attractions, evoking a sense of civic pride and wonder. Just as the Mayor of London’s competition in 2016 demonstrated, LED technology has revolutionised bridge lighting, empowering designers to craft mesmerising visual experiences that captivate the imagination.

Crafting the perfect lighting design

Several factors must be carefully considered to achieve optimal results when embarking on a bridge lighting project. Every aspect of the design process is crucial, from ensuring road safety to adhering to regulations and minimising light pollution/spill. Reflections off water surfaces, impact on local residents and wildlife, and the overall ambience of the surrounding environment must be taken into account to strike the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics.

Here are our four main approaches to a bridge lighting design: 

Sustainable lighting 

Harnessing the artistic potential of light while ensuring responsible design practices is paramount. Uncontrolled illumination can pose hazards to pedestrians, commuters, train drivers and the environment. By carefully selecting luminaires with optimised optics to minimise light spill and sky glow, you can direct light precisely where it’s needed. Handrail lighting is a good alternative where column-mounted options aren’t suitable. As demonstrated in our collaboration with Tower Hamlets Council where back-light and spill onto the A13 is zero, eliminating risk to the drivers below.

View our Hackney Wick A13 case study here.

Preserving Heritage Charm

Strategic decisions must be made in projects where preserving the nostalgic charm of historic architecture is essential, yet outdated technology proves inadequate: to refurbish existing luminaires or commission a manufacturer to produce replica lanterns? 

Working with Newport City Council, we blended heritage aesthetics with cutting-edge technology to ensure the longevity and efficiency of their bridge lighting.  Colour temperature is critical on schemes like these to be sympathetic to both the bridge and surrounding architecture >

View our Newport Bridge project here.

Infusing vibrancy with colour

Every bridge design tells a unique story, and lighting is the brushstroke that adds drama and identity. LED technology offers unparalleled flexibility, enabling the addition of vibrant colours to heighten the aesthetic impact. From selecting contrasting hues to illuminating the underside of bridges, our Sicrua luminaire seamlessly integrates into any architectural setting, providing dynamic and uniform lighting possibilities without compromising form or function.

Striking the right balance: Stand out without overlighting

Achieving the perfect balance of illumination is essential—enough to stand out without overlighting. By carefully considering the intended use and comfort levels, you can ensure that lighting schemes are tailored to meet specific requirements. Whether lighting bridge decks for pedestrian safety or vehicular movement, our solutions prioritise uniform, glare-free illumination, enhancing visibility and ambience for all users.

Bridge Lighting Possibilities with Acrospire

We offer a range of outdoor luminaires tailored to meet all the unique demands of bridge lighting projects:

Muirfield: Designed for heritage structures, Muirfield combines timeless elegance with cutting-edge LED technology, ensuring superior performance and longevity.

RailLight: Engineered for architectural versatility, RailLight offers unmatched flexibility in mounting options and exceptional durability, making it ideal for modern bridge designs.

Sicura: Infuse your bridge with a touch of contemporary flair with Sicura. Its customisable RGBW lighting effects allow for endless creative possibilities, elevating a bridge’s aesthetic appeal to new heights.

New bridge structures typically feature modern designs that utilise various materials to enhance their daytime appearance. For instance, we recently supplied lighting columns for a new bridge in Lowestoft. These columns were made of polished stainless steel, with matching stainless steel CCTV columns. Challenge us to help source and develop bespoke solutions for your next project.

Bridges are landmarks, symbols of connectivity and progress. Through innovative lighting design and state-of-the-art luminaires, we help illuminate these iconic structures, transforming them into aspirational or functional icons and inspiration for future generations. If you need help on your next bridge lighting project, contact our team today: