Riverside Bridge gets go-ahead

This article was published in 2005, in Newsletter 61.

The new bridge has sculptural grace
Image as described adjacent

Cambridgeshire County Council and WhitbyBird, the company that won the 2003/4 design competition to build the new Riverside cycle and pedestrian bridge (see Newsletter 53), received planning permission for the new bridge in July, bringing it a step nearer.

The bridge links the former Simoco (Philips) site off St Andrew’s Road, Chesterton, with Riverside, a few hundred metres east of Elizabeth Way bridge. The new bridge is sculptural and very graceful in its approach.

The applicants describe it like this:

There are two sculpted concrete rest ‘pods’ on the Chesterton access ramp of the bridge, one near the river bank, each 5.5m in diameter.
Image as described adjacent

‘The flowing curve of the 200m long bridge responds to the natural meandering of the river. With no sharp turns, steps or gradients steeper than 1 in 20, it will be fully accessible for all users to enjoy…

‘The bridge approach ramps are segregated between pedestrians and cyclists, by a 100mm aggregate rumble strip. This separation is emphasised by a change of material in the deck surface over the Cam, where the pedestrian path is formed in lightweight perforated aluminium planks supported on cantilevered steel arms. The cycleway continues to have a resin-bonded gravel surface finish on a structural steel box deck. … As the bridge passes over the river the two decks split apart, allowing the dramatic steel arch to rise between, which is then spliced onto two concrete abutments on each bank of the river channel. The cycleway continues to rise to a highpoint over the centre of the channel, whilst the pedestrian route levels out, generating a level section which provides an excellent vantage down the river.

‘The northern approach ramp reverses the sweep of the bridge. Its relaxed and organic curved shape reduces its perceived length. Seven asymmetric piers … support the deck, and two small circular ‘buds’ off the main route provide rest areas for pedestrians and cyclists. These elements have been designed in collaboration with artist / sculptors Judah.

Lighting will be located discreetly in the handrails.’

David Earl

Pictures by permission of WhitbyBird