The bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the railway line Sittard-Geleen, a design by the architectural studio ZJA, intends to simplify and increase contacts between the city, business park Fortuna and sports area Limburg. The bridge not only lies firmly embedded in the green roadside scenery along both railroad tracks, but it also has an elegant form and subtle details. The chosen form of the hourglass, for instance, wordlessly invites passers-by to come closer and cross the bridge.

The bridge as a connecting link
The bridge offers a natural and smooth connection to the bike paths from four directions. By basing the design on a reduction of the height of the catenary, the maximum difference in height on accessible surfaces could be reduced to just over three meters. Thus, and because the bridge widens from 4,5 meters in its mid to over 12 meters at the bases, the slopes are bland and comfortable.

The skin of the bridge that is part of the load-bearing structure, and the curved shape of the middle part, enhance the fluent character of the bridge. The parapet also includes safety and guidance. Its skin is perforated as much as possible to achieve transparency. The linear LED lamps that light up the bridgedeck, are integrated in the handrail.

The inviting hourglass form and the curved skin, that also extends in height, constitute the basis of an unique and, at the same time, challenging design. The complex form does not have any flat portions and cannot be made with e.g. extrusion-shaped moldings. With the aid of special software, ZJA was able to develop the proper geometry in a relatively simple manner and, thereby generate the necessary templates for an executable production method.

Nominated: Dutch Steel Award 2018

Architect: ZJA
Principal: Municipality of Sittard-Geleen
Consultants: Arcadis, SIDstudio
Main contractor: Dura Vermeer
Year: 2017

Project: #681

Photographs: Marc Schols/Van den Bersselaar Constructie