News

New bridge in Wijnegem delivered

On the evening of Friday 21 June, the first motorists drove over the new bridge in Wijnegem. The old concrete bridge has been replaced by a new steel bridge for car traffic and meanwhile hard work is going on to provide a separate bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. ZJA is responsible for the design of both bridges, which are part of the overall project to enhance the Albert Canal as an important transport artery.

Roland Schagen-van Luit (architect at ZJA) says, “At 118 metres long, the new road bridge in Wijnegem is a striking landmark. ZJA designed a white steel bridge with a horizontal appearance and modest height, so as to obstruct the view as little as possible. The V-shaped supports give it optimal openness and along the canal there is space for cycle paths and a road. The abutments are laid on stepped structures that are being planted up, for a friendly transition to the rural surroundings. Work is fully underway on the separate new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians.”

Successful load test 

After a successful load test on 12 June, in which the road bridge was put through its paces by twenty lorries that shared out their weight across the span in various different formations, it was ready for the opening. The road bridge has two lanes and two maintenance paths, and is exclusively for public transport, cars and heavy goods vehicles. A separate bridge for cyclists and pedestrians is being built nearby. 

Improved environment

With the removal of the old heavy concrete bridge, the architects have also seized the opportunity to transform the space below the bridge from a dark underworld into a lighter, greener and more open environment.

Work on separate bridge for cyclists and pedestrians

With the road bridge now open to traffic, work on the separate bridge for cyclists and pedestrians a short distance away continues unabated. Cyclists and pedestrians will be able to cross the Albert Canal completely separately from motorized traffic on this 175-metre cable-stayed bridge. With a generous cycle path four metres wide, a three-metre-wide footpath, rest platforms and a gentle slope, maximum comfort is guaranteed. The long, graceful bridge will have one foot resting elegantly on the lock complex. Completion is expected in 2026. Until then, cyclists and pedestrians can make use of a temporary bridge nearby, at the lock complex.

Sustainable transport and safety

For the benefit of shipping and as a sustainable alternative to road freight, the Albert Canal has been widened at crucial places and the bridges have been raised to 9.10 metres. Forty million tons of goods are now transported by water annually, the equivalent of the load carried by two million lorries. As part of the project to raise the height of bridges over the Albert Canal, ZJA earlier designed the new Theunis Bridge, which was delivered in 2022 and has since become a recognizable feature of the urban landscape of Antwerp. 

Here too, in collaboration with OKRA landscape architects, plenty of attention was paid to creating a pleasant world under the bridge. 

Bicycle and pedestrian bridges Tessenderlo and IJzerlaan

ZJA was also commissioned to design the bicycle and pedestrian bridges in Tessenderlo (2020) and IJzerlaan, which with their distinctive shapes have become an integral part of their surroundings.

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