I've had time to jot down a few more comments on the papers presented at Footbridge 2011. Again, this is a highly selective bunch, there were many others which were interesting but which I simply won't have time to cover.
I have surveyed previously. There are plenty of images online, but I've just chosen one from the conference paper.
It's actually two separate bridges, with a total length of 278m. Each is in the form of a cone, varying in diameter from 6m to 12m, and structurally they are helical trusses, with straight upper and lower chords intersected with spiral diagonals, taking the general form of a through Warren truss. This is pretty much as rational as this helical form ever gets, but as the authors noted, it still imposes significant secondary stresses on the steelwork, requiring substantially more material than would the more conventional solution.
I've included it here because while I have my doubts about the conic geometry (attractive in the widening direction, but visually constricting in the other direction), this is one of the best of its genre. This is largely, I think, because of the cladding treatment, which with its varying densities of mesh, distracts from the structural frame and uses its apparent solidity to create an object with a greater sculptural weight.
The result is a truly superlative example of high-tech structural engineering. The main vertical support comes from the truss, which is essentially a series of successively cantilevering cable-stays. The number of cables in each bay of the truss are varied according to their order in the cantilever i.e. the number of cables used is proportional to the force to be carried. This system is assisted by a set of ring-cables offset below the deck level, which are cranked back up to deck level at the ends and hence carry a share of the vertical load in a manner similar to an external prestressing tendon. This also reduces the possibility of uplift forces on the bridge's end bearings.