06 October 2008

Bridges news roundup

Trips to Venice end in trips in Venice
Apparently Santiago Calatrava's controversial new Constitution Bridge in Venice is injuring tourists. If that makes you think of a steel-and-glass monster rearing up and lashing out at wide-eyed visitors, Godzilla-style, the truth is sadly more prosaic - inconsistent glass stair treads creating a trip hazard. I especially liked Venice's daft solution:
"We'll intervene with some sort of signalling system for distracted tourists, perhaps with stickers on the ground," Salvatore Vento, Venice's head of public works, told Corriere.
Even Calatrava himself, who is notorious for fighting against proposed alterations to his bridges, has suggested some of the steps could be modified.

Helical bridges are the new black
The Harthill Footbridge was lifted into place over the M8 motorway in Scotland at the beginning of October (albeit late and over-budget). The design is a lattice truss comprising intertwining helical loops. It must be intended to be eyecatching, because it's certainly not structurally optimum. It is glazed inside the truss which will make repainting difficult - there's also no evidence of how the outside of the glass will be cleaned (e.g. a maintenance walkway). It seems to be part of a trend: similar bridges include the nearly identical Greenside Place Link Bridge in Edinburgh; and the Marina Bay Bridge in Singapore (inspired, like the Amgen Bridge in Seattle, by the shape of the DNA double helix).

To infinity and beyond
The iconic North Shore Footbridge, designed by Expedition Engineering, has had its two arches installed (using the same crane as at Harthill, incidentally) and is now named the Infinity Bridge. The bridge occasioned some controversy last year with a war of words between Chris Wise and Stephen Spence (also of River Wear bridge fame) as to who actually came up with the design.

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