Maintenance-free bicycle bridge
The Smitsvest bridge in Bergen op Zoom has been realized for the accessibility of a whole new residential area. The 40-ton bridge, entirely made of Corten steel, has a length of 21 meters, a width of 5 meters, and a height of almost 6 meters. The design of the modern bicycle bridge rests on historic pillars such as the peat canal and madder.
The design was inspired by an inverted peat boat, and this was immediately one of the biggest challenges within this project: more than 50 curved slats that also change shape in a smooth line. An excellent detail is the integrated LED lighting that has been installed in the construction so that the bridge looks particularly beautiful not only during the day but also at night.
Due to the maintenance and lifespan requirements of the bridge, Corten steel was chosen in consultation with the architect. The choice for corten steel was not only made based on sustainability – after all, corten steel is 100% recyclable and maintenance-free. The color was also an essential factor: due to oxidation, the bridge turns a light orange and then becomes slightly darker, in line with madder, a plant that was widely cultivated in this area until the 1860s. This oxidation process stops after two years, and at that time, a natural rust protection layer will have formed. The bridge makes its own coating, becoming maintenance-free and therefore sustainable.