Wildlife friendly lighting for Olympic waterways 

The challenge

Built for the London 2012 Games, The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is surrounded by a network of canals and waterways offering routes to and from the sporting complex.

We were contacted to provide a lighting solution for Lea Bridge Road towpath to increase pedestrian and cyclists feelings of safety through increased lighting levels.

Part of a major investment and pre-Olympics ‘clean-up’ programme, the scheme, a joint project by British Waterways and the London Borough of Hackney and funded from the Olympic pot, was not plain sailing: with an established local bat population and river wildlife high on the list of considerations.

Clients and partners

  • Client

    British Waterways

  • Client

    London Borough of Hackney

Key project requirements

  • To provide a safe route of passage.
  • Minimal disruption to the local bat and wildlife population.

The solution

With railing already passing through the tunnel, the application lent itself to an integrated handrail lighting solution. However, the project was not without its challenges; with the existing handrail overhanging the towpath to one side, right over the water.

To reduce the impact on water life, such as the local nesting moorhens and local bat population, who were using the underpass as a feeding route, our Garda handrail, in an asymmetric distribution, was specified.

Installed from a floating pontoon, the new balustrade was bolted to the side of the walkway deck via vertical fixing plates.  50mm circular hollow stanchion posts and a set of three horizontal infill rails (each 26mm in diameter) were welded on-site between the posts.  All metalwork is Grade 316 with a brushed polished finish. 

Garda’s sophisticated optics direct light to exactly where needed – onto the pathway: with ten x 1200mm LED Modules, in a 4000K CCT, uniformly lighting the towpath. An asymmetric distribution was selected to achieve the sharp light cut-off required and prevent the water from being illuminated.

Garda offered a low-energy solution, weighing in at only 10W/m of handrail.

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