New town bridge across the IJssel

Kampen’s local authorities wanted a new town bridge. The old bridge was the worse for wear and no longer satisfied the requirements stipulated by the shipping. This bridge across the IJssel river is also the gateway to the town centre, and interconnects the monumental embankment on the town side with the station square on the opposite side of the water.

The basic premise for the design was the request for a bridge with a contemporary form, which would take the backdrop of the listed monumental townscape of Kampen’s historic centre into account .
Initially, different bridge variants were designed. The types studied were a vertical lift bridge, a swing bridge, a beam bridge, a drawbridge and a cable-stayed bridge. From the viewpoint of safety and the urban ‘fit’ in this historically charged setting, the eventual choice was for a low lift bridge with lowered pedestrian walkways to each side.

The new bridge stands at the same spot as the old one, making it necessary to build a temporary bridge first. Though this solution is more expensive, it ensures that the new bridge stays connected to the town’s medieval street layout.

The new bridge, 400 metres long and 20 metres wide, is twice as wide as the original bridge. The breadth of the shipping channel has also been doubled, to 30 metres. The approaches to the bridge are placed on concrete abutments and the bridge itself rests on four supports in the river. The old bridge’s massive piers were replaced with more slender examples, therefore improving the water flow. The four new steel lift towers are constructed from steel tubing filled with concrete. They bend towards each other at the top and support the axles of the cable wheels. These pulleys guide the cables for the counterweight and stand in the bridge’s lengthwise direction. They are gold plated. In the evening the lifting towers are illuminated, with the counterweight wheels as a spectacular highlight, referring to the old towers elsewhere in town.

Cyclists and pedestrians have received special attention, and their protection from rain, wind and motorized traffic was pivotal in the design. Every stream of traffic has been given its own separate lane. The middle lane is intended exclusively for motor traffic, with cycle lanes on each side. The lower pedestrian walkways are suspended on the outside of the concrete bridge deck and are constructed in steel. For extra comfort a glass windbreak has been added between the pedestrian and the cycle lane.

The bridge is not only designed for traffic, but is also to a certain extent an attraction in its own right. Halfway across the bridge, above the shipping impact protection (the wooden guide-rail for boats placed in the water in front of the bridge’s supports), pedestrians can enjoy a splendid view of the IJssel and the historic town centre from the protruding balconies. The arched railing along the footpath continues along these balconies in a flowing line.

Winner: Nationale Schildersprijs 2000, Environment Architecture award 2000
Nomination: Dutch Steel Award 2000

Client: Gemeente Kampen