High Trestle Bridge

Reminiscent of support cribs used to shore up the walls inside coal mines, the frames over the High Trestle bridge are illuminated with iLight Plexineon Blue Series fixtures.

Lighting Elevates Bridge to Icon Status

Design Firm Chose Plexineon for Reliability

Measuring a half mile long and towering 13 stories above the Des Moines River Valley in Central Iowa, the High Trestle Trail Bridge is one of the largest footbridges in the world. It also is one of the most visually stunning, thanks to iLight’s linear LED technology.

Part of a project to link the 25-mile High Trestle Trail with other trail systems running throughout the state, the bridge artfully pays homage to Iowa’s rich railroad and coal
mining history.

RDG Planning & Design was engaged to develop the artistic elements, conceptual design and lighting design related to the 41 steel frames over the bridge representing support cribs commonly seen in coal mines. Within the 18 frames located directly over the water, specially constructed channels house Plexineon Blue Series fixtures. Placed at strategic angles, the illuminated frames create the illusion of descending into a coal mine — or perhaps traveling through a time tunnel—while the lights emit a blue aura that suggests the water below.

The effect of iLight Plexineon is dramatic even from a distance.

The effect of iLight Plexineon is dramatic even from a distance.


The Design Challenge

David Raver, Lighting Studio Director at RDG Planning & Design, chose iLight’s product because it uses a minimal amount of energy, while still creating a dramatic effect.

Reliability and durability were also important. Having incorporated iLight products into other exterior applications, Raver knew Plexineon would, again, be the right choice.

“We’ve used iLight products on several other projects,” he says, “so we have confidence in their reliability.”

The bridge during daytime.

The bridge during daytime.


 “We’ve used iLight products on several other projects, so we have confidence in their reliability.” – David Raver Lighting Studio Director, IALD, LC


The Plexineon Advantage

To ensure a smooth install, iLight supplied detailed custom drawings.

From the start, iLight worked with the firm to ensure smooth installation, including supplying detailed, custom drawings. Raver appreciated that the product—a total of 976 linear feet—arrived in palletized, clearly labeled boxes.

“It was a smooth process,” he says. “We were able to put all of the cribs up in a week’s time.”

The final result is a new state icon that’s quickly become a destination for families, hikers and cyclists alike. The “wow” factor can be appreciated both while crossing the bridge and when viewing the bridge from a distance, especially after darkness falls.

“It really pops out because it’s hanging there,” Raver says, “and it’s a color you don’t see much at nighttime.”


Project Details

High Trestle Bridge

Madrid, IA

Exterior application

Direct view

Snyder & Associates

RDG Planning & Design

RDG Dahlquist Art Studio

Kelly Green Photography

Plexineon Blue

1,914 LF (583 m)

High-Trestle-Bridge-2---Kelly-Green-Photogarphy High-Trestle-Bridge-3-KathyKalmoe

Case Study PDF Download

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