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Rolling Bridge Opens Canal to Water Traffic

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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Striving to provide a new connection for a redeveloping industrial sector of London, as well as re-opening a canal to boat traffic, architect Thomas Randall-Page recently kicked off a crowdfunding campaign for the development of a bridge that can rotate 180 degrees on rails.

If built, the steel rolling bridge would reopen the Cody Dock canal to water traffic for the first time in over 50 years, while also providing access to the Cody Wilds and the new Lea River Park, according to the crowdfunding page.

London’s Rolling Bridge

With the ability to be rotated with a hand-powered mechanism, the round-edged square structure will run across the neck of the dock, moving along a twin pair of rails with an undulating shape. (The rails are attached to the walls of the canal.) When rolled, the walkway becomes the bridge’s roof. When the arch is up, the bridge can accommodate water traffic passing below.

In terms of function, the frame of the bridge is equipped with teeth that join up with notches in the rails, like a cog. The square frame is also equipped with counterweights, which helps prevent the structure from moving uncontrollably. The frame is attached to a cable, which in turn is moved by the crank handle.

According to the crowdfunding page, the project includes construction of the pedestrian bridge, creating a plaque that will feature the names of project supporters and completing public access to the Lea River Park. The project has already reportedly received approval from Newham Council and support from Mayor Sadiq Khan.

According to Dezeen, Cody Dock was built in the 1870s, but fell into neglect by the beginning of the 21st century. Gasworks Dock Partnership, working in collaboration with PUP Architects, has since worked to breathe new life into the area, which now houses both creative and community spaces.

Randall-Page noted that with the bridge being part of a larger plan for a footpath and cycleway project to run the length of the river, there is hope that “this rolling bridge will become an important landmark and a symbol of the dynamic creative community which is growing here.”

As of writing, interested parties have already pledged around 62,000 pounds (roughly $75,000). The crowdfunding campaign is aiming for over 197,000 pounds.

If funding is successful, 80,000 pounds would be used on manufacturing, 30,000 pounds would be used on dock repairs and foundations, 12,000 pounds would be spent on admin functions and the rest of the funding would be spent on things like surveys and an installation contractor.


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

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/20/2019, 8:27 AM)

While it looks like a neat, innovative design - I don't see how the current proposal would get past permitting/safety review in the USA. Nearly everything appears to be a nonredundant, fracture critical member, and you're relying on the goodwill of passersby to operate the thing on time and safely (ie, not rolling it down onto a passing boat, or rolling it up when pedestrians are on the bridge)

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