Fringe Box



Letter: Rethink Needed Over Style of New Bridge

Published on: 21 Jul, 2016
Updated on: 21 Jul, 2016
The recommended design for a replacement bridge to cross the River Wey near the railway station. It is hoped that it will provide a safer route for pedestrians and cyclists to and from the town centre.

The recommended design for a replacement bridge to cross the River Wey near the railway station.

By Bibhas Neogi

The sketch of the proposed new Walnut Bridge is an artist’s impression but the artist seems to have no concept of how it works.

The cables only cover about half the span and the spine beam is not shown. Presumably it is below the deck and making the bridge higher than necessary.

A nice looking bridge, yes, but the span isn’t really long enough to justify such a method of construction.

Santiago Calatrava Valls is a great Spanish/ Swiss architect, but to follow one of his ideas for a footbridge, regardless of the suitability for the crossing, is questionable. Of course, a nice looking bridge is welcome but it has to fit the site.

I would go for a traditional multiple beam and slab deck but pay particular attention to parapets and lighting to look dated so as to fit in with Guildford’s historical background.

The proposed look is ultra modern and suitable for spanning much larger rivers or obstructions. In my view a rethink is needed.

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Responses to Letter: Rethink Needed Over Style of New Bridge

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 14, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Well, it seems Guildford Vision Group (GVG) according to their website, is also promoting the ‘Calatrava’ look for their proposed new East West link from Guildford Park Road over the tracks to Woodbridge Road.

    I would make similar comments to those as I have made here. A road bridge needs to be a lot stronger than a bridge carrying only pedestrians and Calatrava’s ‘fish skeleton’ form needs to be really robust. Where there is a need to span wide roads, a series of obstructions, or rivers these structures can be justified as their higher costs of construction and maintenance match the functionality requirements.

    Such forms are usually constructed using an incremental cantilevered method but Network Rail would not allow construction over their tracks. So this kind of bridge is totally unsuitable. A structural form that could be launched over the tracks is the only form that could be used here. For the rest of the flyover, it is a possiblity.

    However, where a multi-span structure that costs much less could be constructed, it does seem an unnecessary luxury to spend more just to create an iconic structure. In Guildford, I would personally go for a more traditional look to fit in with the town’s historical background rather than planting an out of place modernity.

    Calatrava’s bridges are nice to look at but the use of ‘fish skeletons’ need to be very carefully considered to see if they fit in. Readers might be interested in the article below ,-

    I think GVG also should reconsider their ideas about the structural form of the link.

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