The location: green and monumental
The location of the New maria Bridge is fenomenal, with important natural and cultural qualities, such as majestic trees, listed buildings and remnants of the city’s walls. The bridge spans the deep Dommel valley in ons jump. It doesn’t have intermediate supports ensuring uninterrupted views over as well as under the bridge. This is a place that needs a carefully placed bridge, which nestles in the place as if it had always been there.
Elegant design, with a view to the past
In our vision, the New Maria Bridge should be a simple and elegant jump over the valley, without any support. The shallow curve of the deck emphasizes the moment of crossing. We have been inspired by two adjacent bridges on either side: the Wilhelmina- and Willems bridge. Both are beautiful arch bridges with a warm brick character. Arch and brick have been given a place in our design too. The curved bridge deck, the parapet and the brickwork play an intricate game of radiation. The connection to either quay side is defined by a single woorden light post next to the shared space for cyclists and pedestrians. The abutments are curved and recessed under the bridge deck, rendering them practically invisible.
The bridge is founded on piles. The abutment is made of in situ concrete, with prefabricated concrete visual elements applied as lost casing. The span is made by slightly curved prefabricated concrete I shaped beams with a total span of 36,5 meters. Both edges are finished with prefabricated concrete elements, with integrated curved support for brickwork. This building method is economical and ensures a minimum of dilations needed. The brickwork is traditionally made on top of the support, ensuring the highest visual quality. The abutments have been designed as hinges, transferring the deformations of the entire structure directly to the piles. Expensive and maintenance intensive expansion joints can be avoided.
The New Maria Bridge is sustainable in many aspects. To start with the old bridge has been carefully taken apart on site, (making sure damage to the trees and monument was avoided), its concrete has been crushed for re use on a safe place, the reinforcement bars are melted and turned into new steel. During construction the impact on the surroundings was minimized: both abutments were built in the dry, there were no building activities in the water on on the rivers bottom. Thanks to the high placement of abutments and deck the passage of water (even with floods) is uninterrupted at all time. The LED lighting in the parapet is guided towards the deck and does not hinder night birds and bats that fly under or over the bridge. Finally thanks to the minimal volume and the elegant shape the bridge is immediately loved by the people of Den Bosch. As is it had always been there.
The bridge is practically maintenance free: brick work, concrete and the untreated wooden handrail are robust, the LED light strip is placed out of view and unattainable for vandals. Probably most important of all: bridges are costly investments, they deserve a long lease of life. Therefor we opted for robust materials that weather nicely: brick work, bold wooden handrails and the dark colored parapet are all virtually immune to visual pollution.