Destructor Bridge

Structural Designer

COWI (formerly Flint & Neill)

Client Name

Crest Nicholson Ltd (CNL) with Bath & North East Somerset Council (BANES)

Location

Bath, UK

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: Britannia Construction           

ARCHITECT: Knight Architects        

STEELWORK FABRICATOR: Cordioli         

LAUNCHING CONTRACTOR: ALE

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The intriguingly named Destructor Bridge is a two lane, multi-functional urban highway bridge providing much needed improved access across the River Avon to a new 2000+ home development area, replacing the original, single lane, 19th century riveted Warren truss girder bridge.

Judge's comment:

The Destructor Bridge, a descendant of a previous bridge on this site, is named for the “Destructor” waste incinerator that was nearby. Its elegance belies its earthy name. Designed in proximity to older, more established heritage bridges, the Destructor Bridge is an understated but expertly considered, detailed and executed vehicle, pedestrian and cycle bridge.

The bridge is apparently an arch bridge, with the bridge deck suspended from flat steel hangers, but like many of the best structures there are hidden forces at work: the deck conceals a supporting case of box girders that anonymously contribute to the arch’s performance. The bridge spans 48m and the arch itself is a super-thin 200mm thick, achieved by making the hangers (themselves just 40mm thick) do more than just hang but also connect the arch to the strength of the below-deck girders. The careful detailing of the bridge carries through the handrails and benches slotted between the hangers.

Overall, the engineers have produced a bridge of delightful simplicity and technical accomplishment that serves as a fine example of how to succeed in bridge design.