Day 150/365 of Steel – The Erasmus Bridge

The Erasmus Bridge is the second bridge across the New Maas River in the centre of Rotterdam, next to the Willemsbrug. The bridge connects the district ‘Kop van Zuid’ with the city centre on the north side of the river.

The Erasmus Bridge
Fig 1: The Erasmus Bridge
Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The Kop van Zuid area was originally used as a harbour area. With the shift of the Rotterdam harbour to the west, this area was redeveloped at the end of the 1980’s. An important part of this plan was a new bridge that should open up the Kop van Zuid from the city centre.

 The Erasmus Bridge
Fig 2: The Erasmus Bridge
Image courtesy of the Holland Media Bank

The Rotterdam council chose the asymmetrical design by Ben van Berkel (UNStudio) over the design with four pylons by Maarten Struys of Gemeentewerken Rotterdam. The pylon was originally designed in concrete, but in the end a steel version was chosen because it was slimmer and the construction time could be reduced. 

The Erasmus Bridge
Fig 3: The Erasmus Bridge
Images courtesy of Adobe Stock

The 808-metre-long cable-stayed bridge has a 139-metre-high asymmetrical steel pylon. This earned the bridge its nickname, ‘The Swan’. Between the Kop van Zuid and the pylon, there is an 89-metre bascule bridge for ships that cannot pass under the cable-stayed bridge.

At the time, this bascule bridge was the largest and heaviest bascule bridge in Western Europe. When the bridge was completed, there were problems with the stay cables. In high winds, the pendants began to vibrate in a way that was dangerous. The solution was to install heavy dampers to reduce the vibrations.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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