Copenhagen's Kissing Bridge Still Can't Kiss

CC BY 2.0. Lloyd Alter/ Inderhavnsbroen

The Inderhavnsbroen bridge cycle and pedestrian bridge in Copenhagen was supposed to open in 2013. It’s a long and expensive bridge that has to open to let ships through; I showed it in the slideshow, Riding the new bike and pedestrian bridges of Copenhagen But I didn't get to ride over it; it had just been finished and was still going through testing after long delays.

Its construction had not run smoothly; first the financial backer went broke. Then it turned out that the engineers screwed up and they had to almost completely start over. However last August the local paper headlined Copenhagen's 'Kissing Bridge' completed. After the last section was installed they wrote:

Anders Møller, one of the City of Copenhagen's project managers, was relieved at that it had gone so well. “When you consider all the errors, bankruptcies and problems that we have had, everything went really well and according to plan when the bridge was assembled yesterday ” Møller told DR.
people on bridge

Lloyd Alter/ Inderhavnsbroen/CC BY 2.0

I saw it shortly after that, and photographed it with a crowd of dignitaries standing at the end of one side. It looked like they were celebrating its completion.


bridge plan

© Bridge plan

Feargus O’Sullivan writes in Citylab that it still isn’t open, thanks to yet more engineering screw-ups. As the drawing shows, the bridge has two fingers that roll out and “kiss” or meet in the middle. (hence the nickname “kissing bridge.”) Except that they don’t.

When perfectly aligned, they automatically latch together when protruding tongue-like bolts enter complementary holes in the other span. These bolts aren’t perfectly aligned, though—they’re off by six to eight centimeters, which is enough to prevent them locking correctly.
roller under bridge

Lloyd Alter/ roller under bridge/CC BY 2.0

The city blames the weather, or actually the sun. It is acting kind of like a bimetal strip,where when the top of the bridge gets warm and the bottom is cold then it begins to curve out of alignment. Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize puts it more colourfully on Facebook, lightly censored for this family friendly website:

The latest news is that the "surprising" combination of spring sunshine and cold water have made the bridge twist. Hilarious. And "other possible combinations of weather and temperature haven't been tested yet"... But it's irritating that the ARCHITECT who designed it doesn't get blamed for what must be the stupidest design in the history of bridges that open and close. Centuries of drawbridges and swing bridges and the schmuck Cezary Bednarski, Polish architect, decides to freestyle that xxxx and we're left paying for his lame-xxx fantasy.

Centuries of engineers have also known that metals expand when heated, and not always evenly. O'Sullivan suggests that they might file down the pins or adjust the collars a bit.

Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon nailing the lunar module/Video screen capture

I think they should hire Kevin Bacon to run the bridge; he did such a great job of nailing the pin into the slot on Apollo 13. Either that or install some mirrors to cook the bottom of the bridge when the sun shines.