5 outstanding Bridges

Bridges do far more than connect two places. They bring people together and promote cultural exchange. In technical terms, every bridge is a masterpiece – but some stand out in particular.
author: Karin Bornett

As critical infrastructure, bridges can make a major contribution to flourishing trade between regions and drastically increase the mobility of the population. However, the challenges involved in bridge construction are immense. They range from terrestrial obstacles to extreme weather conditions and hazardous situations through to the integration of functionality and aesthetics. This makes every longstanding bridge an architectural masterpiece in its own right. But some designs are particularly impressive. Whether that’s down to their appearance, outstanding technical data or unusual solutions.

Walterdale Bridge in Edmonton, Canada, crosses the North Saskatchewan River and has connected downtown Edmonton with the Strathcona district ever since 1913. In 2017, the aging structure was replaced with a new, more modern Walterdale Bridge – an arch bridge made of steel and concrete. It is 206m long and 33m wide. Separate lanes for cars, bicycles and pedestrians make the bridge an important part of the local infrastructure and a popular place for walking, cycling and skating, as well as offering idyllic views of the river and the surrounding countryside.

The Ponte Vecchio is one of the oldest bridges in Europe and a Florence landmark. Built in the 14th century, it crosses the River Arno. Its unique architecture has shops and homes integrated directly into the bridge. Three stone arches support the structure and give the bridge its characteristic shape – an impressive example of functionality and aesthetics coming together. Today, the Ponte Veccio is a hotspot for tourists. Hardly surprising since alongside the many jewellery and souvenir shops, it also offers beautiful views of the Arno and the surrounding city.

The Loftesnes Bridge is a bridge in Norway in the province of Vestland. It spans the Sogndalsfjord and connects the towns of Loftesnes and Sogndal. The new construction won the ECCS Public Award at the 2018 European Award for Steel Structures. The first bridge on this site opened in 1975 as an important transport link in the region but it was recently so worn down that it was no longer a suitable candidate for rehabilitation. In order to maintain the traffic flow, the PORR subsidiary PNC built a modern steel structure next to the old bridge. This meant that the approximately 1.2 km long stretch over the E39, one of Norway’s main traffic arteries, could continue to be used throughout the construction period. After completion, the old material was removed and recycled as part of the circular economy. The new Loftesnes Bridge offers separate routes for different modes of transport as well as impressive views of the surrounding landscape, majestic mountains and the fjord.

The Green Bridge, also known as the Almaty Green Bridge, was built in 2014 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The modern pedestrian bridge connects Zhibek Zholy Boulevard with 28 Panfilovzy Park. With a length of 185m and a width of 6m, the structure allows pedestrians to cross the busy boulevard safely. The bridge is a popular meeting place and a venue for events and exhibitions. It offers a wonderful view of the city and the surrounding mountains. The structure has become a symbol of Almaty’s modern architecture and urban development. And it reflects the city’s efforts to create green, sustainable infrastructure.

Glass Bridge in Huangchang

Arguably one of the most spectacular views from any bridge comes from the Glass Bridge in Huang Chuan, Henan Province, China. The pedestrian bridge opened in 2017. It is made of transparent material and stands 368m long and 3m wide. The see-through floor allows those with a head for heights and a sense of adventure to cross a deep valley with breathtaking views of the landscape. The Glass Bridge was intended to boost tourism in the region and has proven highly successful in this regard ever since it opened. Bungee jumping and rope slides provide an extra adrenaline kick. Such a technically and aesthetically demanding construction on difficult terrain have earnt it the top spot even among the world’s most special bridges.

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