06 July 2011

Where are they now? Part 2

Okay, I've previously provided a catch-up on bridges which I mentioned in 2008 but never really followed up afterwards. This time, I'm moving on to 2009, and there are enough bridges from that year that I will probably split things across more than one post.

River Soar Footbridge
Another RIBA bridge design competition, with a cute little suspension footbridge as the winner in February 2009. As with so many schemes, it was part of a regeneration project. Ownership of the project passed from Leicester Regeneration to Leicester City Council, which I'm told then killed the regeneration scheme the bridge was part of, as a result of budget cuts. The regeneration body was absorbed into Prospect Leicestershire, which I believe is also now being closed. There's no "prospect" of this bridge being resurrected any time soon.

Parrot rating: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on!

Metro West Liffey Bridge
The winners for both River Soar and for the design competition for the Metro West bridge, a light rail structure near Dublin, were announced in February 2009, and were superficially very similar designs, by the same design team, although on very different scales. Metro West is a 25km long rail scheme, one of several projects promoted in the Dublin area by Ireland's Rail Procurement Agency.

The companion Metro North scheme was granted approval to proceed in October 2010, and enabling works were due to commence earlier this year, with a contractor appointed in early 2012.

Metro West is behind that schedule, with its application for permission only submitted in October 2010, and no decision yet made, so far as I can see. The winning bridge is an expensive concept, and in the current climate it's hard not to see that it could fall victim to "value engineering" i.e. cost-cutting.

Parrot rating: He's probably pining for the fjords.

Williamette River Bridge, Portland
I first featured this bridge right at the very end of 2008, and then again in January 2009 in its guise as an innovative "wave" bridge proposed by architect Miguel Rosales. This proposal didn't last long: by March 2009, its excessive cost had seen it ditched, and a hybrid cable-stayed and suspension bridge design come to the fore. That was probably the last time I mentioned the project.

The hybrid option also didn't last long, with the transport authority opting for a conventional cable-stayed bridge in June 2009 (pictured above right). This was always the obvious choice, despite sniping from the sidelines from aesthetes possessed of at best a superficial understanding of bridge design. Construction of the cable-stayed design started on site on 1 July this year, due to complete by 2014.

Parrot rating: Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue! Beautiful plumage!

The search began for a new opening bridge design in Rotterdam in 2007, with a competition winner announced in December 2008 (I only picked up on it two months later). This was a broadly conventional but not unattractive bascule bridge design, and at the time, they predicted a construction start in 2009, with the bridge open by 2011. So far as I can tell, it's behind schedule, but is actually going ahead, with construction work now commenced in February 2011.

Parrot rating: It nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart with its beak, and VOOM!

Middle Rhine Valley
In April 2009, a winner was announced in the contest for a highway bridge near the Lorelei Rock between Mainz and Koblenz in Germany. The winning design was a pretty unusual venture, with trusses on only one side of the bridge deck, not something I've seen attempted anywhere else on a bridge of this scale or type. The location of the bridge is highly sensitive, being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it was unclear how far the scheme would be allowed to proceed. In July 2010, UNESCO finally came to a decision - in favour of the bridge. Campaigners still hope that the bridge will not proceed, but that instead a ferry may be adopted as the preferred option.

Parrot rating: He's not dead, he's, he's restin'!

Foryd Harbour Bridge
A couple of months later, June 2009, another bridge design competition, another winner. This time it was an opening cycle/pedestrian bridge at Rhyl in north Wales, won by a unique drawbridge design with twin fibreglass bridge decks. Planning consent was eventually secured in March this year. The project website states that offsite fabrication is expected to take place during 2011, with a site start next year.

Parrot rating: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue ... What's wrong with it?

Cityplace Footbridge, Toronto
I wrote about this not particularly out of interest in the bridge, but because of a design charrette which was run to try and raise interest in more "architectural" proposals for what was always a difficult structure spanning a number of railway tracks, connecting to the Cityplace residential development. The charrette's website no longer exists, but I featured a number of the designs here, as well as the original warren truss design which inspired the charrette into existence.

The final design (pictured) was made public in April 2010, and is a variation on the original Warren truss design with the trusses curved inwards towards each other - this significantly increases the size required for the truss web members, and hence the overal expense. Construction has commenced, with foundations installed earlier this year, and the bridge due to open by October.

Parrot rating (for the charrette proposals): 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

There are quite a few parrots out there. The Vancouver Community Connector is another 2009 bird stunned. I wonder if that will ever go pining for the fjords.