Busy urban intersections can be intimidating for even the experienced bike commuter. No matter how much attention you pay to crossing signs and orders to dismount, there's always that fear that traffic won't actually see you or stop in time. Dutch design firm IPV Delft came up with a truly spectacular solution to this problem for the city of Eindhoven, Netherlands. Hovenring is a roundabout suspended in mid air. The cable-stayed bridge offers cyclists and pedestrians an exciting way to circumvent the intersection that's guaranteed to make drivers envious.
Completed in the summer of 2012, Hovenring is an impressive 72 metres in diameter, suspended by cables that originate from a 70-metre pylon installed at the center. Twenty-four cables are attached to the inner side of the 1,000-ton steel bridge deck, right where the bridge deck connects to the circular counter weight. This prevents a stiff wind from causing the fairly thin bridge deck to twist or sway. The M-shaped supports near the approach spans also ensure stability.
One of the challenges of the design process was the spacial integration, explains the architects. The existing infrastructure and buildings set the boundaries for the grades of the slopes leading up to the roundabout. As space was limited, it was decided to lower the ground level of the intersection underneath by a meter and a half, allowing for a comfortable slope for pedestrians and cyclists.
Thanks to the presence of a local Philips factory, Eindhoven’s nickname is “City of Light”. Thus, the architects knew that the bridge’s lighting should be unique enough to stand up to this reputation. The space in between counter weight and deck has been fitted with aluminum lamellas, translucent sheeting and tube lighting, which results in a clearly visible ring of light that must be a trip for local UFO enthusiasts. LED lighting is integrated into the bridge’s railing to illuminate the deck and increase safety by guaranteeing easy facial recognition of the bridge users at night.
via Arch Daily