DUBLIN: Following the critical, and public approval of his first bridge (James Joyce Bridge 2003), Santiago Calatrava’s second addition to the city of Dublin was eagerly anticipated.
Facing a more difficult installation process than its older brother, high winds and poor weather pushed the expected opening back to early 2010. However, Dubliners had a festive treat when the bridge was opened by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello on the 10 of December, 2009.
Although commissioned together, Santiago wanted each bridge to maintain its own identity. The first pays homage to its namesake through its location, directly outside Number 15, Usher’s Island, made famous in Joyce’s short story, ‘The Dead’.
The Beckett Bridge, designed after Santiago had spent more time in Ireland, was created to embody the warmth and friendliness of the Irish, reflecting the heart of Ireland with its harp inspired shape. The designer reflects on it as a celebration of his connection to Ireland and its people.
The Beckett Bridge swings 90 degrees around an axis at one end, allowing maritime traffic to continue.
The bridge project generated a number of special concerns due to its location. The abutment support structures had to be protected below the sea water level and due to the tidal conditions along this stretch of the river any product used had to be able to deal with the cyclical nature of effects of the abutments being submerged. To deal with these issues the structures were treated with ImpreGuard XP.
The river Liffey was dammed at the entrance to Dublin Port and the abutments were protected both above and below the sea water level.
Imperguard XP became the product of choice, due to its high level of water repellence, and it’s continued efficiency when exposed to air/water cycles, caused by the tide.