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Pedestrian Bridge Works Even Underwater

Friday, February 2, 2018

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A pedestrian bridge completed in 2016 has only recently had the opportunity to show its true colors—by becoming stepping stones when the river that runs below it floods.

Bridge Design

The 721-foot-long Zalige Bridge, located in an urban river park in the Netherlands, was designed by NEXT Architects and H+N+S Landscape Architects.

Since the Netherlands is known for its below-sea-level towns, accommodating flooding in design has always been a concern. The Zalige Bridge span was created with this in mind, by acting as an extension of an elevated pathway that allows visitors to cross the river and floodplains.

Zalige bridge by NEXT architects from nextarchitects on Vimeo.

According to ArchDaily, what makes the design unique is its flexibility—during dry periods, the pathway is lined with concrete benches; when water levels rise, the path becomes submerged and the benches become stepping stones.

“Eventually, also the stepping stones submerged, making the bridge inaccessible,” said the architects. “As a crest above the river, the bridge emphasizes the dynamic character of water by letting people see and experience the changing river landscape.”

Michel Schreinemachers, partner with NEXT Architects, explained that all designs by the firm were inspired by a place’s unique characteristics.

“This bridge is built on the floodplains; this fact was used to design a bridge that strongly connects and interacts with the river landscape, as a path over the water.”

Even though the structure was completed in 2016, it was in January of 2018 that the water levels reached the highest point in 15 years, making the bridge only reachable through the stepping stone concrete benches. The stepping stones were eventually submerged as well, rendering the span impassable.

The bridge was constructed by Ingenieurs Bureau Amsterdam, with I-Lent (Dura Vermeer Divisie Infra BV en Ploegam BV) serving as the contractor.

Zalige Bridge is part of the Room for the River Waal, a nationwide project spearheaded by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. In Nijmegen, where Zalige is located, this includes the displacement of the dike, along with the construction of a lateral gully.


Tagged categories: Bridges; EU; Europe; Infrastructure; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Urban Planning

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