Aesthetics translated into technology for new cyclists and pedestrians bridge in Deinze

A new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians over the touristic section of the Lys will soon link the shopping centre in Deinze with the parking at Brielpoort. Herbosch-Kiere turned the design by renowned architects Marie-José Van Hee and Robbrecht & Daem into reality. The necessary attention was paid to the aesthetics of the slim bridge.

Last year, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv awarded the contract to construct the new bridge over the Lys to the joint venture Herbosch-Kiere – Electro Goeminne. Anyone wanting to go shopping in Tolpoortstraat will be able to park their car at Brielpoort and get to the shops by crossing the bridge over the touristic section of the Lys. The new bridge alongside the car park will lead to Lucien Matthyslaan. On the other side of the touristic section of the Lys, it leads to Antoon Van Paryspad. The bridge will provide better access for everyone: customers will be able to find a parking space more easily, more people will be able to get to the shops, mobility will be made more sustainable and the local economy will prosper as a result.

Steel bascule bridge

The new bridge is a bascule bridge measuring 38 metres long and 4 metres wide. Vessels with a maximum height of 3.2 metres can simply pass underneath the bridge while it is folded open for higher vessels. A gradient of 4.5% makes it easy for cyclists and pedestrians to get to the other side.

“Rather than span the Lys with a single bridge section, we have built two piers in the water on steel tubular pile foundations”, explains Wouter Deneweth, site manager for Herbosch-Kiere. “Two concrete abutments connect the piers and the bank. Between the piers, we have installed a movable steel bridge section weighing a total of 30 tons. One of the piers serves as a basement level housing two jacks which together push the bridge upwards. The bridge does not have a superstructure that has a visual impact. Everything is hidden in the concrete.”

Herbosch-Kiere has also built a guide that leads vessels to the bridge opening and a guard jetty which vessels can moor to until the bridge has opened.

Attention to aesthetics

Building structures on and around water is nothing new for Herbosch-Kiere since the company has years of experience in this field. However, this bridge did present a challenge as the city of Deinze had the express desire to build a bridge that was aesthetically pleasing and joined forces with two renowned architectural firms to work on the design. As a result, the challenge lay in translating the design into a bridge that was not only aesthetically pleasing but also structurally sound. So the concrete is not just concrete but fair-faced concrete. That led to creative solutions.

Wouter Deneweth: “System formwork where large panels are clicked together always leaves behind an impression of the frame in the concrete. That was out of the question with this bridge. To remedy this problem, we went 2 cm wider which enabled us to place wooden plates between the concrete. Now all that you can see is a really fine line where the seam was between the two wooden panels. We also needed to ensure that the phasing of the various concrete pours had as little visual impact as possible. Therefore thorough preparations were carried out in close collaboration with the consultancy firm, so that we wouldn’t have any surprises when we came to carry out the work.”

Special project

The works were started in February and are due to be completed early next year. The city of Deinze will then take care of the task of linking the development to the existing streets. Site manager Wouter Deneweth is already looking forward to the result: “This bridge is a special project for our company. It’s completely different to building a quay wall in an industrial environment, for example, where the challenge lies in achieving a good return or ensuring that the groundwork goes smoothly. Here, it was the way that we carried out the concreting that was of crucial importance. As a young site manager, I am pretty proud of this project and that’s partly due to the close cooperation within our company.”