“Dafne Schippers” Bridge Ramp Built over a School

Dafne is an athlete from the Netherlands who holds the 200 meter world record sprint (photo Lee Jin-man/AP)
Dafne is an athlete from the Netherlands who holds the 200 meter world record sprint (photo Lee Jin-man/AP)

Mark Wagenbuur wrote about it already a while ago when the bridge was being constructed, but now the new Dafne Schippers bridge in the Netherlands is officially in use. The bridge crosses the important Amsterdam-Rijn canal, connecting Amsterdam’s harbours with its hinterland in Europe.

Dafne Schippers bridge
Dafne Schippers bridge   photo: Mastum Daksystemen (roof systems)
The canal is a considerable barrier and with a growing number of people living across the canal, this bridge was needed as part of the bike route from Leidsche Rijn (I loosely call it a suburb) to Utrecht Centre.

The Amsterdam Rijn canal is a 72 km waterway and opened only in 1952. The part north of Utrecht existed already under another name and the southern part was newly dug in the 40’s and 50’s. It’s not a canal like you know them from Amsterdam’s downtown core or the Rideau canal: this is a 100-120 wide meter shipping route.

Dafne Schippers bridge
Dafne Schippers bridge    photo: Mastum Daksystemen (roof systems)
You have probably read about the bridge before, it is the one that is routed over the roof of a Montessori school that was built a year before. The bridge is 110 meters long and rises 9 meters above the water. Parts of the bridge were put in place over a weekend in order to avoid hindering the large barges coming through the canal. The maneuvers were live streamed.

Dafne Schippers bridge photo: Marlot van den Berg DUIC
Dafne Schippers bridge     photo: Marlot van den Berg DUIC

Compare that to Rideau canal bridge

What surprises me is the cost of the bridge. The bridge and the landscaping around it cost ‘only’ 7 million euro (that is about 10 million Canadian or 7.5 million USD). Compare that with the budget of 21 million Canadian for the ped and bike bridge over the Rideau canal, which is about the same length and you wonder why it is twice as expensive to build a (much simpler) bridge here in Ottawa.

Rideau Canal ped and bike bridge is twice the cost of the Dutch Dafne Schippers bridge
Rideau Canal ped and bike bridge is twice the cost of the Dutch Dafne Schippers bridge and should take 2 years to build
The Rideau canal bridge, still going by its informal project name Rideau Canal crossing (or Fifth to Clegg bridge), should be built between September 2017 and December 2019. It is a fairly utilitarian bridge with large ramps and a switchback that has to be built in a small space to get to the desired height.

The bridge will cross Colonel By and the Rideau canal just north of the Canal Ritz restaurant, where Bill Clinton once had a bite.
The bridge will cross Colonel By and the Rideau canal just north of the Canal Ritz restaurant, where president Bill Clinton once had a bite

But wait, who is Dafne?

She is probably the youngest person ever to have a bridge named after. Born in 1992 (that makes her 25 in 2017), Dafne Schippers is a Dutch athlete, competing in heptathlon and the sprints. She is the 2015 World Champion and winner of 2016 Olympic silver at the 200 metres. She’d run the bridge in just over 10 seconds. I’m sure it would take me longer by bike! Meanwhile Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff passed away in 2016 at age 69 and he still has no stadium in the Netherlands called after him.

Sources: Verkeersnet, Wikipedia, city of Ottawa website

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Modern Design: Bicycle bridges in the Netherlands
  2. Modern Design: Bike and Ped Bridges in the Netherlands

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