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Unique Walking-Biking Bridge Proposed

Monday, November 30, 2015

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A pedestrian-bicycle bridge in east London is expected to become the first draw bridge built across the Thames River in more than 120 years.

The Rotherhithe Bridge will connect Canary Wharf with Rotherhithe and provide something that all other Thames crossings lack—a bridge dedicated to both pedestrians and bicycles, according to a recent article in Dezeen.

Photos: Rotherhithebridge.london

The Rotherhithe Bridge will connect Canary Wharf with Rotherhithe and provide something that all other Thames crossings lack—a bridge dedicated to both pedestrians and bicycles.

If built, the Rotherhithe Bridge will be the first across the Thames to open for ships since the Tower Bridge was completed in 1894, the design publication said. The Foster + Partners-designed Millennium Bridge from St Paul's Cathedral to Bankside is the city's only pedestrian bridge, but it does not allow bikes.

Wishbone Design

Proposed and designed by London design studio reForm Architects with the help from engineer Elliott Wood, the bridge also is unique in its design.

Two wishbone-like structures open the center part of the bridge to allow the passage of taller ships. When closed, the upper ends act like cable supports to the cable stayed bridge’s center decks. When open, the supports fold back into gaps left between the two 5-meter (16.4-foot) tracks, the magazine said.

Two wishbone-like structures open the center part of the bridge to allow the passage of taller ships. When closed, the upper ends act like cable supports to the cable stayed bridge’s center decks.

ReForm itself made a case for the necessity of a bridge of its kind.

“People working at Canary Wharf and traveling by bike or foot from the south will no longer be faced by lengthy detours to Tower Bridge and Greenwich Foot Tunnel or the undesirable passage presented by the Rotherhithe Tunnel,” the architects wrote on their website.

When open, the wishbone-like supports fold back into gaps left between the two 5-meter (16.4-foot) tracks.

The 184-meter-long (603.6-foot-long) bridge also has its own website, where Elliott Wood is seeking private funding for the next phase of the project.

“The Thames is one of the world’s great rivers, and London is one of the world’s great cities,” said reForm architect Nik Randall, who developed the bridge’s design. “Any new bridge across the Thames must respond to the significance of its setting, and add to its culture and heritage.

Sustrans, who commissioned the feasibility study, said that the £88 million (US$132.9 million) bridge will have 2.1 million journeys and 1 million walking journeys across the bridge by 2020.

“Our design will do this, creating an internationally recognizable landmark,” Randall continued. “Its unique and elegant form and operation will become an attraction for visitors. It will enhance the views along and across the Thames, providing scale and interest in the way that the ships on the river itself do.”

Feasibility, Funding

According to The Architect’s Journal, the cycling charity Sustrans helped make the case for the bridge when it commissioned the architect to draw up a feasibility study. Sustrans said that the £88 million (US$132.9 million) bridge will have 2.1 million journeys and 1 million walking journeys across the bridge by 2020.

Dezeen notes that the bridge project still needs additional funding and political support before it can proceed. The project is expected to take between four and five years to build.

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Bridges; Engineers; Europe; Program/Project Management; Transportation

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