A UK-based team of Ramboll UK, Knight Architects and and Eadon Consulting is designing the Swing Bridge and Longbird Bridge. The new bridges will replace ageing crossings that have connected the airport with capital city Hamilton to the west and the town of St George’s to the east for over 50 years.
In December 2017, Ramboll (lead consultant), Knight Architects and Eadon Consulting won the contract to deliver full design services for the two replacement bridges. The feasibility options were submitted to the government of Bermuda this summer and the project team’s designs were approved last week before being unveiled at a public information session this week. Detailed designs for the bridges will now be drawn up over the next six to nine months. The aim is for construction to begin in summer 2019, with completion anticipated by 2021.
Swing Bridge, which currently joins St George’s Harbour with the west of the island will be replaced by a bascule bridge with a distinctive curved soffit, providing a 22m clear channel for shipping access to the harbour.
The replacement Longbird Bridge will be a 54m fixed twin arch bridge. Each will allow two lanes of traffic with separated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians. In both cases the existing strategic crossings will remain fully operational while the new structures are completed.
The bridges are quite different in design and function from each other, though they follow a set of overarching visual characteristics intended to define them as a ‘family’. Each bridge has a flowing appearance, defined by a small number of continuous edge curves. Both will be finished in a mix of white and pastel colours to references the distinctive palette that is typical of buildings throughout Bermuda.
One of the factors behind the curved design is to minimises the collection of water on the bridges, key factor in resisting the corrosive effects of the tropical maritime climate.
Steve Thompson, director of bridges at Ramboll, said: “The positive response to the designs at the public information session is excellent news. The bridges successfully address the challenges created by a corrosive climate while delivering a superb aesthetic, which is great news for everyone on the island or visiting the island.”
Martin Knight, director at Knight Architects, said: “These bridges, so vital in the daily lives of Bermudians, will also form distinctive landmarks to people arriving at the international airport and have been conceived to make a positive contribution to the tourism identity of this extraordinary place.”