Nigtevecht bicycle bridge
This impressively slender bicycle bridge across the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal near the village of Nigtevecht provides a much-needed addition to the local and regional recreational bicycle network. A wildlife connection was created at the same time and location, allowing wildlife to cross the canal and connecting two areas of natural beauty.
Dutch design office ipv Delft’s main focus was to create a slender and uncomplicated looking bridge that would adapt well to its rural surroundings. In fact, part of what sets the bridge apart is its slenderness. This could not have been possible without the use of parametric software.
It all started in 2014 when ipv Delft and Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam were selected to design and build a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Amsterdam-Rhine canal, spanning 104 metres. The initial design proposal featured a regular steel tied-arch bridge, referencing the existing straight-forward arch bridges along the canal. The rural location combined with the desire of local residents to minimize intrusion, prompted the designers to aim for a structure that was as slender as it could possibly be.
ipv Delft decided to investigate the option of a network arch bridge. This extremely efficient and therefore slender structure requires complex calculations, but the use of parametric software simplified this. They built a 3D-model in Grasshopper for Rhino and performed a quick scan of the options. A comparison in RFEM structural analysis software of the initial tied-arch bridge and the final network arch bridge showed major advantages of the network arch: the structure itself required approximately fifty percent less steel, it was significantly slenderer and was looking absolutely stunning.
The materials used follow from the aspired aesthetic of the bridge, as well as structural efficiency. The concrete slopes were cast in situ to ensure their slender profile, the network arch of the 104-metre main span is made out of steel. For structural reasons, the network arch bridge has a concrete deck.
The design phase addressed spatial integration, user comfort and transparency as key issues. With a required 10 metre clearance, fulfilling the brief was challenging. The heigh clearance meant long ramps were needed on either side. The designers aimed at maintaining the uninterrupted landscape and creating a comfortable route for cyclists. This inspired a design which develops closely along the banks of the canal, minimizing its impact on the surrounding landscape. ipv Delft created a route with hairpin bends on the east bank and a lengthy slope parallel to the canal on the opposite bank. Its shape efficiently uses the available space and meets the wishes of all stakeholders concerned.
User comfort has been a key concept throughout the design process. For pedestrian use, flights of stairs have been installed on either side of the main span. In between the two sets of stairs, the bridge deck has been broadened by a metre to ensure a safe environment for cyclists and pedestrians alike. Also, the sloped bends of the cyclist route have a widened radius of 10 metres.
This project is a joint effort. They have worked closely together with main contractor Ballast Nedam and ecological consulting firm Bureau Waardenburg, who designed a wildlife connection linking two areas of natural beauty on either side of the canal and enabling wildlife to cross the canal. The Province of Utrecht and the Province of North-Holland were the commissioning parties, who on their turn collaborated with Rijkswaterstaat and two city councils (De Ronde Venen and Stichtse Vecht).
The final design has come about thanks to public private neighbourhood collaboration, where locals and other relevant stakeholders were able to provide input. For cyclists the bridge is an important new connection in the regional network of bicycle routes.
Design: ipv Delft
Project Location: Liniebrug, Nigtevecht, Stichtse Vecht, Netherlands
Typology: Bicycle bridge
ipv Delft is a Dutch design and engineering office. They specialise in infrastructure, large-scale bicycle, road and pedestrian bridges and bicycle infrastructure related research, advice and feasibility studies. In addition, they also have extensive knowledge of architectural lighting and the design of street furniture. Their team comprises of professionals from the field of product design, architecture, lighting design, civil engineering and industrial design. They combine technical solutions with a large dose of creativity and always keep sight of costs, durability, functionality and user comfort. They believe a strong design can’t come about without a vision. They focus on simplicity, structural efficiency and functionality and create elegant and logical designs with a timeless quality. Iconic if necessary, always without frills.