An exceptional new wooden cycle bridge can be found in the town of Harderwijk on the former Zuiderzee (now IJsselmeer). It was opened on 11 December 2014 by several aldermen of the town and it is part of a cycle route to re-connect the new development “Drielanden” with the best cycle route to the town’s centre. That cycle route is part of the Zuiderzee Cycle Route, a route all along IJsselmeer and could previously not be reached so easily from “Drielanden” because the A28 motorway was in the way.
The Harderwijk council wanted the overpass to be an eye-catcher and the council had specifically asked the architects to refer to the maritime past of the former fishing town in the design of this new bridge. And so Zwarts & Jansma Architects designed a wooden cable stayed bridge of which the pylons resemble the mast of a ‘Zuiderzee botter’, the traditional fishing ships, that can still be seen in the old port of Harderwijk, even now.
The bridge is 77 metres long. It consists of 11 pre-fabricated sections of 7 metres. The main span is 50 metres. This makes it one of the longest wooden cable stayed bridges in Europe.
The Wijma Group supplied the timber. The two wooden pylons, each 22 metres tall, are made of FSC Azobe wood. The two straight trees were especially selected in one of the company’s own sustainable production sites in Cameroon in West-Africa. The trees were shipped to Kampen to get the special shape of a ‘botter’ ship’s mast. Square shaped at the bottom and round and tapered to the top. The pylons support the bridge deck which is also made of Azobe wood.
It took five nights to place the pre-fabricated bridge parts over the motorway. The steel bridge railings have integrated led-lights. The bridge and the cycle route are well-lit at night.
Cable stayed bridge Harderwijk, the Netherlands
Contracting authority: Harderwijk council
Contractor: Heijmans Civiel B.V.
Architect: Zwarts en Jansma Architects
Timber supplier: Wijma Group
Type of wood: FSC certified Azobe
Costs: 2.9 million euro
Measurements: length: 77 metres, span 50 metres. width 4.5 metres.
In January of 2015 the bridge won the Dutch FSC chain award 2014 in a popular vote. The director of the Dutch Forrest Stewardship Council praised the bridge which was voted best project. ‘ We congratulate this team, This result is achieved through team effort. This new cycling-bridge is an icon for both the city and the way wood can be used in a sustainable manner.’
My video about the new cycle bridge in Harderwijk
My second video shows a ride on the bridge