The most eye-catching element of the IJzerlaan project is the new bicycle bridge over the Albert Canal. The new bicycle bridge, designed by ZJA, will replace the existing IJzerlaanbridge across the Albert Canal. The new bicycle bridge has a length of nearly half a kilometre, making it the longest bicycle bridge in Flanders. On Thursday April 6th, the new bicycle bridge will be inaugurated. That afternoon, the alderman for Mobility of Antwerp, Koen Kennis, will officially open the new bicycle bridge together with the chairmen of Merksem, Luc Bungeneers, and of Antwerp, Paul Cordy.

The steel bridge has a strong horizontal character, with the side-rails acting as load-bearing elements. Over the canal, these rails are opened up to create high spatial beams, so as to offer views of the surrounding area. The new bicycle bridge is approximately 490 m long and 4.7 m wide and the longest bridge across the Albert Canal. The bridge has a dark grey exterior, befitting the harsh industrial environment. On the other hand, the inside of the bridge focuses on the user and has a light white colour, providing a pleasant cycle route. The V-shaped columns that support the bridge have minimal impact on the underlying park and give the bridge a modest appearance.

The replacement of the IJzerlaan Bridge is part of the plan for “Groene Singel”, within Antwerp’s 2020 Master Plan. To be able to transport more freight containers by barge, all the bridges over the Albert Canal will be increased in height, while the canal will also be widened. For this reason, the current IJzerlaan Bridge will disappear completely. The project is also part of the preparatory work for the future Oosterweelverbinding right-hand bank, which is to complete the ring road around Antwerp.

ZJA has been commissioned by Beheersmaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel (BAM NV) and client THV RoTS to design the Oosterweel connection right bank and associated preparatory works, required to improve mobility in Antwerp.

Photographs: BAM nv