Calatrava's crossing

11 Dec 2009

Long awaited Samuel Beckett Bridge opens

Dubliners took their first steps across the Samuel Beckett Bridge yesterday following its official inauguration. The six-laned bridge is Santiago Calatrava's second in the Irish capital city being preceded by the James Joyce Bridge which was completed in 2003.

“It’s rare that an artist is able to contribute to the blueprint of such a historically rich city and I am deeply honoured to provide Dublin with not one, but two signature bridges,” said Calatrava. “While working on the James Joyce Bridge, I developed a deep affinity for the people of Dublin, and I wanted my next bridge to celebrate that connection. It is my sincere hope that the Samuel Beckett Bridge will serve as a monument to Dublin, honouring its past, present and future.”

And indeed the bridge serves as a monument to Ireland itself, its form envisioned as a harp - a prominent symbol of Ireland, with steel cables as its strings, and being named after a famous Irish author as in his prior James Joyce Bridge.

Construction of the Samuel Beckett bridge began in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in May 2007 and involved the assembly of 8 steel bridge sections to create a 123 metre deck span. A 46 metre high steel curved pylon was fabricated and connected to the deck and 25 forestay and 6 backstay cables were installed to create the main superstructure. The structure was then shipped via barge for 628 miles and on a third attempt the body of the bridge was manoeuvred into place in May. It now offers a multi-modal crossing connecting the north and south sides of the River Liffey with four lanes for motor transport, two lanes for pedestrian and cycle ways and space for trams in the future. Resting on a reinforced concrete support pier the bridge is capable of swinging 90 degrees to make way for maritime traffic.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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