2006 Suspension Bridge lights

The highly effective lights were switched on on the 8th April 2006 at 9:15pm with a fantastic display of huge cascading fireworks

Suspension bridge Lights

Bristol city council awarded planning permission on 25 February, but as it is a listed building, consent is needed from the Government of the South West. Permission has also been granted from North Somerset. The current illuminations on the suspension bridge are now 12 years old and have started to deteriorate despite frequent maintenance. Spare parts for the system (it uses aircraft emergency lighting strips) are extremely difficult to acquire and are no longer being made. Consequently, the lights were switched off in September. The previous system using lightbulbs had the problems of accessible bulbs being stolen, and often thrown in the river. It is planned that new illuminations using floodlighting will be installed, subject to the required planning processes, during the spring and summer of 2005 and thoroughly tested prior to an official switch on to celebrate Brunel’s 200th birthday on 9th April 2006. This means the bridge will not be lit up for nearly two years. The photo shows the bridge illuminations this Christmas!
Proposals for the new state-of-the-art illumination system on Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge are now on show to the public.
Planning application 04/04805/LA/C: Clifton Suspension Bridge. Removal of existing illuminations from Bridge. Installation of new lighting scheme to Bridge towers, walkways, chain and abutments
The lights, which are subject to planning permission which has to be granted both by Bristol City Council and Gloucestershire Council, consist of four elements:

  • Along the length of the chains from which the bridge is suspended will hang more than 3,000 LEDs (light emitting diodes), each focussed on a small section of the chain and throwing into relief the giant nuts which connect the links.
  • Fluorescent tubes beneath the handrail will illuminate the walkway for pedestrians, and silhouette and emphasise the delicate design of the iron lattice running the length of the bridge.
  • Lamps will also be concealed within the arches of the two towers at each end of the bridge. Trustees say the two sides of each tower will be washed with a white light, carefully directed and focussed to avoid the problems associated with urban glow.
  • Low-powered lights concealed beneath each end of the bridge deck will downlight the abutments so the bridge will no longer appear to ‘float’ above the Avon Gorge, but will be seen to be connected to the structures which support it.

The new lighting system will cost nearly £800,000 to install but the maintenance costs are expected to be minimal, trustees say. Contractors removed the old system in preparation for trials of the proposed new illuminations at the end of August.
Clifton Suspension Bridge website