Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

 
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THE SAMUEL BECKETT BRIDGE (RIVER LIFFEY)

Connection: Macken Street – Guild Street.

Commissioner: Dublin City Council.

Architect: Santiago Calatrava.

Contractor: Graham (Belfast) Hollandia (Rotterdam) Joint Venture.[1]

Completed: 2010.

Plans for a bridge across the Liffey from Cardiff’s Lane on the south-side to Guild Street on the north-side have been in motion at least since the 1939 proposal by Abercrombie, Kelly & Robertson. With the ongoing success of the Docklands during the 1990s, so came increasing demand for a new Liffey crossing at Macken Street, halfway between the Sean O’Casey pedestrian bridge and the East Link.

Dublin City Council subsequently commissioned world-renowned Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava Valls to create the new bridge. It is the Zurich-based designers second bridge on the Liffey; he built the James Joyce Bridge. His others projects include the Chicago Spire for Dublin businessman Garrett Kelleher and the future train station - World Trade Centre Transportation Hub - at Ground Zero in New York City.

The 120 metre bridge is cable-stayed, with a curved, inclined steel pylon. This pylon houses a rotation mechanism that allows the structure to open for maritime traffic. The bridge has four traffic lanes with cycle tracks and footpaths on either side of the bridge. This will go a long way to opening up the Spencer Dock area. This landmark structure, of unique character, has a curved profile leaning northwards resulting in a dramatic shape giving the appearance of a harp lying on it’s side.

The bridge is named for the Dublin-born playwright Samuel Beckett.

[1] Graham Construction have carried out a number of major projects including Taney Bridge in Dundrum while Hollandia have completed a number of high profile works including London Eye.

An updated extract from the book ‘Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyage’ by Turtle Bunbury (2008)

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