WEST FIFERS are driving over the Queensferry Crossing with their eyes shut as concerns are raised over the bridge's lighting.

Drivers have reportedly been closing their eyes at night while making the trip across the £1.35 billion crossing, with local commuters stating the lights on either end of the bridge are causing a distraction.

Motorists had highlighted their concerns to former MSP Cara Hilton, who told the Press: "Some have said they close their eyes when passing them or drive with just one eye open to block out the flickering.

"As a regular commuter over the Queensferry Crossing, I've been concerned about the lighting at the ends of the highway for a while and so when Epilepsy Scotland also raised concerns, I asked local residents for their views on my Facebook page and there's absolutely no doubt this a huge issue for locals who have described the lights to me as 'too bright, dazzling, blinding, flickering and distracting'.

"It's unacceptable that people are being put into this position and a potential hazard to all travelling across the bridge and to the road workers working on it. 

"From a personal point of view, my mum suffers from photosenstive epilepsy. She drives across the bridge regularly and frequently comments on how distracting the lights are. For people living with epilepsy and at risk of losing their licence if a seizure occurs, it's a constant worry."

She has called on Transport Scotland to take steps to dim the lights or redirect their beams away from drivers' eyeline.

The transport agency says the designs considered the "thresholds for epilepsy" and that the lighting met expected industry standards.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "Road lighting is required towards each end of the Queensferry Crossing, to provide increased visibility for road users near the adjacent road junctions. Low-height bollards, rather than traditional lighting columns, were chosen for aesthetic reasons. The system used is similar to that found in road tunnels.

“In developing the lighting solution, the design considered the thresholds for epilepsy with regards to the frequency and duration of exposure. The lighting system complies with the relevant lighting standards and is in line with current international best practice. In addition, the lighting has passed an independent Road Safety Audit for the project."

Epilepsy Scotland told the Press they had received comments confirming that the lights were distracting.

However, they added that no reports of ill-effects were caused with those with photosensitive epilepsy.

A spokesperson commented: “There are 55,000 people living with epilepsy in Scotland and only three per cent of them have photosensitive epilepsy; it’s not as common as people think.

"After receiving a query from a supporter, we sought feedback from our online community to see if the lights at the Queensferry Crossing have caused any issues for those affected by photosensitive epilepsy. While the majority of those who responded agree the lights are distracting, we did not hear of any ill-effects on people with photosensitive epilepsy.” 

“Epilepsy Scotland have produced a fact sheet on photosensitive epilepsy, which we can provide to the operators of the Queensferry Crossing to ensure that the lights are safe for people with photosensitive epilepsy."