Melkwegbridge Solves A Difficult Problem, Gives Options to Both Cyclists and Pedestrians
Complete cities have to accommodate all kinds of people with all kinds of physical abilities. When NEXT architects were design a new bridge over a canal in Purmurend in the Netherlands, they wanted to accommodate bikes, pedestrians and wheelchairs. However, wheelchairs need very shallow ramps for access, which made the bridge a really long Z shape, almost 330 feet long.
Their clever solution was to add another short but steep bridge for pedestrians who could climb up the arch, 40 feet high, and get a great view too. The architects write:
The bridge thus becomes more than just the fastest possible crossing, it becomes an end and an attraction in itself. Because pedestrian traffic and bicycle traffic are separated, the footbridge can continue the direct line of the Melkweg in the direction of the centre.
It looks good from the water, too. The architects give more information on Contemporist:
Bicycles and remainder traffic cross the bridge using the 100m long bicycle deck. This deck was designed as a pendulum over the water, so that the slope could be limited to a minimum. Because pedestrian traffic was separated from cyclists, the direct line between the Melkweg-road and city centre could remain. Furthermore the 48m arch remains the fastest possible way to cross the water.
The lower bridge actually swings open for bigger boats, although the pivot point is very close to one end, that's a big cantilever.
The pedestrian bridge weighs 85 tons, consists of 130 steps and is supported by a steel arch. The design makes it able to retain the spatial openness of the channel and its surroundings. Both bridge sections flow smoothly into each other and form one whole. This unity is enhanced by the continuity of materials and colors. In the edges of the bridge LED lines are applied that follow the contour of the bridge and guarantees a spectacular view on the bridge even after sunset.