08 June 2012
Glass Bridge, Coventry
I gather some of the locals describe this as the "bridge to nowhere". It spans across Lady Herbert's Garden, landing in front of the Coventry Transport Museum. It carries pedestrians above a surviving remnant of Coventry's mediaeval city walls. However, it is undeniably fairly pointless, as you can quite easily walk around the wall at ground level, barely lengthening your journey.
Ramboll and fabricated by Rowecord, is 130m long in total, curving gently from the east before descending in a dramatic 15m diameter spiral ramp at its west end. Some 40m of the bridge is unsupported at this end, subject to substantial bending and torsional effects. These are resisted by a 762mm diameter hollow steel tube, which forms the primary structural member for the entire bridge. Vibrations are prevented by the presence of three tuned mass dampers inside the tube, although some movement is still quite perceptible.
Overall, I admire the bridge's structural impudence, but find the parapets far too "busy", and wonder quite how much it must cost to maintain.