An Eye-catching Stream of Light across the Firth of Forth

Thorn Lighting has illuminated the Queensferry Crossing – an impressive new bridge spanning the Firth of Forth on the eastern side of Scotland. Thorn Lighting has worked together with national M&E specialist SES Engineering Services (SES), on the £1.35 billion project. The project has been initiated to relieve pressure on the existing Forth Road Bridge, which connects Edinburgh with the county of Fife. A selection of Thorn luminaires has been chosen to illuminate the imposing structure, creating a striking stream of light that stretches across the Forth Estuary. 

(Image: Thorn Lighting)

With a length of 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles), the Queensferry Crossing is the longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge in the world. The towers, each more than 200 metres high, are connected to the roadway by 37,000 kilometres (23,000 miles) of cabling - almost enough to go around the earth. The structure is positioned upstream from the famous Forth Railway Bridge and is expected to serve around 24 million vehicles each year. 

The lighting scheme was developed to enhance the strong aesthetics of the bridge and ensure excellent energy efficiency. The lighting technologies and luminaires were carefully selected to fulfil various specific functions, utilising lenses and precise focusing to maximise effectiveness and minimise stray light and glare. 

Altis floodlights illuminate the towers and highlight the distinctive shape of the bridge at night. This high-performance fitting incorporates a patented optic that offers a unique range of photometry, including outstanding levels of vertical illuminance that accentuate the north, south and central towers. Excellent thermal management and IP65 protection help maintain a consistent and stable light output.   

The new bridge incorporates a specially designed 3m high acrylic windshield across its entire length to offer protection from the wind and to help keep the bridge open in stormy weather. The integration of 2,610 custom-made Deckedge LED luminaires turns this functional element into an aesthetic feature, creating a spectacular strip of light across the Forth. At the same time, more than 2,000 Aquaforce LED fittings provide lighting for the general electrical equipment and dehumidification machinery. The IP65 rating and excellent reliability means that Aquaforce can easily cope with the wet and dirty conditions in the maintenance areas below the roadway.

Although a ‘rural’ classification means that overhead street lighting is not strictly required on the bridge, efficient Orus LED bollards with durable IP66 protection were added to the plans to deliver low-level road illumination. Orus LED utilises Flat Beam® technology to guarantee a pleasant driving experience for those crossing the bridge, while remote dimming and monitoring are made possible by the integration of Transport Scotland’s CMS system. The lighting installation therefore actively supports the Scottish Government’s pledge to lower carbon emissions, reduce lighting pollution and limit the impact on the rural landscape. R2L2 LED road lanterns illuminate the approach roads on both sides of the bridge.  

Paul Coggins, Zumtobel Group’s Senior Vice President Northern Europe confirmed: “We are proud to have played a part in this enormous project. It is a stunning bridge to look at and an amazing feat of modern engineering. The Queensferry Crossing is an awesome achievement and everyone involved should be congratulated on the successful completion of this truly iconic structure.”

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