Ney & Partners
Gate to the city
10m wide at the ends, 5m wide in the middle
In 2011 I first heard about the plans for a bridge over the Leien. That was the year the MAS opened! All those years I dragged along a render during walks to get everyone excited about this bridge. When the first film appeared last year (see below for all the films released over the Parkbrug) I was even more enthusiastic, the drawings in steel and the construction were fascinating for me as an engineer.
Pedestrians and cyclists
The bridge is intended for pedestrians and bicycles to cross the Leien in a safe way. You could do that quite safely at street level, but very slowly (wait at least 2 lights, especially with large groups). It connects Park Spoor Noord (building Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool) and Het Eilandje (London Tower). This bridge was already taken into account in both buildings in the design. For example, there is a kink in the London Tower to indicate the opening and departure of the bridge. A super-large cantilever was realized on the Artesis Plantijn building.
Last week, July 8, the bridge was finally inaugurated, while it had already arrived in Antwerp a month ago (June 11-12). It was transported as a whole over the water from Willebroek to the Kattendijk dock. From the dock, the bridge was slowly driven over the road to the Leien, where she was allowed to sleep one night and the next day she was assembled in her place (video below). All this was streamed live, although I don’t know if there were many viewers, because it was really early in the morning.
During the tours that I did in the neighborhood just before the Park Bridge was placed, the same question always arose: How do you get up by bike on the London Tower side? A slope on the side of the Eilandje was not feasible and therefore only stairs and a lift were provided. Because the lift can sometimes break (think of the Pedestrian tunnel or other bicycle tunnels …), a special system has been provided on the stairs that makes it easier for the bicycle to come up.
Now that it has been installed, the bridge only comes in the news with all the disadvantages of this system. The “Velocomfort” system has bristles in the falling gutter that promotes braking and keeps the bike upright. A narrow conveyor belt is provided when rising. Biggest tip here: braking when you climb, except at the end of the stairs, you can release the front brake and then the tire sees that you can easily take the corner between stairs and platform. Even bigger tip if you are not a hero in these matters: take the elevator behind the corner on the left side of the stairs. It is a very large elevator where you can enter with many bicycles. I will try to take the elevator on guided tours by bicycle, I am not a hero in these matters either. I already find the escalator of the pedestrian tunnel is hell, last time I even placed the pedal on my foot, painful!
Ney & Partners
This article first appeared on my other site about architecture in and around Antwerp: archiplore.
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