Today the first cars crossed the new third Theunis bridge between Merksem and Deurne, a bridge that stands out because of its steel white openwork construction and its dark substructure. Commissioned by the Vlaamse Waterweg, architectural studio ZJA, in collaboration with Arcadis, Sweco and OKRA Landscape Architects, signed for the design of the new Theunis Bridge over the Albert Canal.
In the last two years, the old Theunis Bridge that connects Merksem and Deurne in Antwerp has been replaced by a new bridge. The new Theunis Bridge consists of three adjacent bridges, two traffic bridges and a tram bridge in the middle. The bicycle and pedestrian paths are located on the outside of the structures. The iconic towers of the new bridge have an open design that offer maximum views.
Ralph Kieft, partner-architect ZJA: "The wide bicycle and pedestrian paths hang like balconies on the outside of the bridge. This gives cyclists and pedestrians the best view over the Albert Canal and the surrounding area. The open towers of the bridge limit that experience hardly. The space under the bridge will also become much more pleasant and liveable.”
Pleasant place under the Theunis bridge
The renovated Theunis Bridge is higher than the old one and therefore creates more space under the bridge. In fact, the Theunis Bridge consists of three bridges in which between daylight plays. This gives the crossing traffic a relationship with the water, but also brings light to the passages under the bridge on the banks. In addition, the bridges rest on open piers, which provide more transparency. Wooden benches will be placed under the bridge where people will soon be able to enjoy the water and the ships that pass by.
Greater clearance height and widening Albert Canal
The new Theunis Bridge not only provides a pleasant connection between the two banks of the Albert Canal, but also has a greater vertical clearance. With almost 40 million tons of goods transported per year, the Albert Canal is the most important waterway in Flanders. Container transport in particular has seen a strong growth in recent years. However, the vertical clearance of the old Theunis Bridge and the fact that the Albert Canal is at its narrowest here formed a bottleneck. The new Theunis Bridge has been raised to 9.10 meters and the canal has been widened to 63 meters. Barges with four layers of containers can now sail safely and smoothly here.