THE BRIDGE THAT LOOKS LIKE A HARP – SAMUEL BECKETT BRIDGE
One day I was standing at the tram stop at Jervis and I overheard a visitor asking people how to get to the Harp Bridge and all thought that she was trying to get to Guinness but I suspected that she may have been based in a hotel near the Samuel Beckett bridge and this proved to be the case … she could not remember the name of the hotel but knew that it was near a bridge that looked like a harp.
Architect Santiago Calatrava was the lead designer of the bridge. He was assisted with the civil and structural aspects of the design by Roughan & O’Donovan consulting engineers.
This was the second bridge in the area designed by Calatrava, the first being the James Joyce Bridge, which is further upriver.
Constructed by a “Graham Hollandia Joint Venture”, the main span of the Samuel Beckett Bridge is supported by 31 cable stays from a doubly back-stayed single forward arc tubular tapered spar, with decking provided for four traffic and two pedestrian lanes. It is also capable of opening through an angle of 90 degrees allowing ships to pass through. This is achieved through a rotational mechanism housed in the base of the pylon.
The shape of the spar and its cables is said to evoke an image of a harp lying on its edge. (The harp being the national symbol for Ireland from as early as the thirteenth century).
The steel structure of the bridge was constructed in Rotterdam by Hollandia, a Dutch company also responsible for the steel fabrication of the London Eye. The steel span of the bridge was transferred from the Hollandia wharf in Krimpen aan den IJssel on 3 May 2009, with support from specialist transport company ALE Heavylift.
The bridge, which cost €60 million, is named for Irish writer Samuel Beckett. It was officially opened to pedestrians on 10 December 2009 and to road traffic at 7 am the following day.
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