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Cepezed to Design Utrecht City Centre Bridge
New 'Rabobrug' in the city centre of Utrecht by Delft-based cepezed architects.
DELFT.-The Delft-based cepezed architects have won the tender to design the new 'Rabobrug' in the city centre of Utrecht, with some 300.000 inhabitants the fourth-largest city of The Netherlands. The ‘Rabobrug’ is a 275m long bridge for cyclists and pedestrians that will be built across the train tracks next to Utrecht Central Station, the country’s main railway junction. The bridge has been planned and anticipated for years, because at a location where it is desparately needed, there has never been a connection between the two vital city quarters on both sides of the tracks. The alderman of the Utrecht station area, Harm Janssen, announced the winner this week.

cepezed has presented a vision for a slender and elementary but stylish and user-friendly bridge with access to the platforms. Keynote is a simple set-up that makes constructional use of the access points. The supports of the bridge coincide with these, so that the load is evenly divided and the span between the lightweight, repeating components is never more than 25 to 30 metres. Thus, no large, heavy or complex constructional elements are needed. Moreover, since use is being made of prefabricated elements that are easily transported by railway, the bridge can be built fast and almost without any hindrance to the regular train traffic.

Other striking features of the Rabobrug bridge are the ends and the lush row of trees that is integrated into the design. Since the ends are situated in crowded inner city sites, there is no room for low-gradient ramps. Therefore, use is being made of tapis roulants that will bring both cyclists and pedestrians on and off the bridge. The trees form a raised extension of the avenue of trees at ground level and thus anchor the bridge into its urban surroundigs while simultaneously inviting its usage in a self-evident manner. Also, they lend the bridge a prominent presence and define it as a high-quality urban space. At night, the bridge is modestly lit, which renders it a sober but stylish and characteristic appearance.

The bridge will cost around 14,5 million Euros. Some 8,6 million of this amount will be paid by the Dutch cooparative banking institute Rabobank, the headquarters of which are located at one of the projected bridge ends. The rest of the sum will be taken care of by the ministry of Transport, Public Works and Waterworks and the Municipality of Utrecht.

cepezed will now work on the preliminary design, that will be followed by a definite design. Completion of the bridge is planned for the first quarter of 2012. 'Rabobrug' is just a working title. In a later stadium, Rabobank will hold a competition to determine the eventual name.

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