Day 34/365 of Steel – The Infinity Bridge

The infinite beauty of steel.

The Infinity Bridge was officially opened on 14 May 2009.
It is a public pedestrian and cycle footbridge across the River Tees in the borough of Stockton-on-Tees in northern England.

The Infinity Bridge in Northern England
Fig 1: The Infinity Bridge in Northern England
Photo: JohnYeadon

The bridge is a dual, tied arch bridge or bowstring bridge. It has a pair of continuous, differently-sized structural steel arches with suspended precast concrete decking and one asymmetrically placed river pier. The tapering arches with a trapezoidal box section are fabricated from weathering steel plate. Each of the arches bifurcates within the spans to form a double rib over the river pier.

A reflex piece between the two arches holds them together, making the two arches one continuous curve. No other bridge is known to have quite the same design. The main arch of the bridge is 120 m long, weighing 300 tons, and 32 m tall, with its top 40 m above the Tees. The short arch is 60 m long and 16 m tall. To ensure any bridge oscillation is controlled, the deck is fitted to the underside with seven tuned mass dampers – one on the short arch, and six on the larger. (source: Wikipedia)

The Infinity Bridge in Northern England
Fig 2: The Infinity Bridge in Northern England
Photo: lvm15

The bridge won the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Supreme Award for Structural Excellence 2009, the premier structural engineering award in the UK. It also won in its own category of Pedestrian Bridges. The other awards the bridge has won include the British Constructional Steelwork Association’s Structural Steel Design Award 2010 and the Concrete Society Civil Engineering Award 2009. If you win both the steel & concrete award, you must have done a bloody good job, don’t you think?

A special feature is made of the way the bridge is lit at night. This lighting scheme was designed by Speirs and Major Associates who also designed the lighting for the Burj Al-Arab. At night from certain viewing angles when the river surface is flat calm, the twin arches together with their reflection in the river appear as an infinity symbol ∞, and it is this effect that inspired its name.

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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