10 May 2018

Yorkshire Bridges: 30. Riverside Way Bridge, Leeds

This footbridge was opened in 2007, to a design by Capita Symonds and Carey Jones Architects. Also known as the Whitehall Bridge, it cost £1m to build.

It's a classic modern tilted-arch design. I'm not sure who first designed one of these, but it's a typology that has definitely caught on. I've designed one myself.

Structurally it's fairly straightforward. The bridge deck is curved in plan, so tends to tilt away from its supports. The arch is also curved in plan, so tilts the other way. Connecting the two with cables allows the weight of the arch to balance the weight of the deck and any pedestrians. In addition, the stiffness of the deck helps to brace the arch against buckling.

Riverside Way Bridge is mildly decrepit, with substantial grime disfiguring the metalwork, and one of the parapet cables having snapped and come loose. This could have been guarded against by using shorter lengths of cables, rather than wires which run the full bridge length.

I think the arch looks pretty good from most angles, and I like the detailing where the parapets intersect the arch rib.

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