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Work due to start on Copenhagen's new cycling bridge - 200 feet in the air

Copenhgen Gate will span harbour and greet cruise ship passengers to Danish capital

Cruise ship passengers arriving in Copenhagen, the city many others aspire to emulate when it comes to getting people on bikes, are set to be greeted by an arresting piece of cycling infrastructure – a bridge for cyclists and walkers more than 200 feet above ground level.

The bridge will link two tower blocks at the entrance to the Danish capital’s Nordhavn harbour approved in 2008 but with construction put on hold as a result of the financial crisis, according to urban transport consultancy, Copenhagenize.

With people required to take a lift up to access the bridge then back down to ground level, it’s perhaps questionable how useful it will be as a piece of infrastructure that cyclists would use daily.

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Like a latter day Colossus of Rhodes or, in fiction, the Titan of Braavos in Game of Thrones, the Copenhagen Gate will form a entrance to the harbour used by cruise ships docking in the city.

But this is no vanity project on the part of designers, US-based firm Steven Holl Architects – the inclusion of the bridge was a stipulation of the design brief, with the city’s planning regulations requiring that new homes need to be no more than 500 metres from a public transport stop.

While the western tower would fulfill that criterion, lying less than that distance from the Nordhavn railway station and other transport links, the eastern one – a 2.2 kilometre trip around the harbour from its sister building – wouldn’t.

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The project won the US Progressive Architecture Award in 2010, and Steven Holl Architects says: “Each tower carries its own cable-stay bridge between the two piers. Due to the site geometry, these bridges meet at an angle, joining like a handshake over the harbour.

“The soffits below the bridges and under the cantilevers pick up the bright colours of the harbour; container orange on the undersides of the Langelinie, bright yellow on the undersides of the Marmormolen.

“At night the uplights washing the coloured aluminium reflect like paintings in the water.”

Given that even travelling at a sedate pace, a cyclist could cover the distance between the two entrances to the harbour in 10 mnutes or so (assuming anyone wants to travel between those two specific points, the utility of the bridge for daily journeys is perhaps doubtful.

Copenhagenize, which describes the project as “a bit wild” and points out that tried-and-tested solutions elsewhere include transporter bridges, citing the example of Porto, says it "will be an important connection as the city continues to grow.

"Maybe it lacks thorough practicality – taking a large, bicycle-friendly elevator up to the clouds to cross a harbour head is not exactly a smooth, efficient transport flow,” it goes on – a contrast to the city’s Cykelslangen (Cycle Snake) bridge, opened last year.

- Video: New cycling bridge takes Copenhagen's legions of bike riders across city's harbour

“But,” it adds, “the function as a link across the water is clear."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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riotgibbon | 8 years ago

Not that different from getting the lift down to the bike tunnel under the Schelde in Antwerp, that's pretty busy


AJ101 | 8 years ago
1 like


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