A new bridge? Oh boy…

Yes, I know, as a hooman bean* of the female persuasion, even in today’s forward-thinking society, I shouldn’t get excited about building sites and blocks of concrete. But I do.

I’ve loved building stuff since I laid my first block of Lego, almost 30 years ago. Mostly this is limited to me being what some have lovingly called a “DiY freak”, because you can’t just go around building houses, can you. But it also involves a lot of drooling over architecture websites and peeking through palisades.

When I started at my current job, my desk had the loveliest of views, the quays of the river Liffey, the tall ship Jeanie Johnston, and a couple of very interesting building sites.

The first one, across the river was the future National Conference Center, affectionately named “the Bean Can”, and watching the workers assemble the gigantic metal and glass drum and applied the (rather horrible) cladding to the front of the building provided hours of wasted time for the whole team. Unfortunately, once the drum and front side were finished, we no longer had anything to watch…

The other site was, at first, the least interesting, as all the work was going on out of sight, even from our vantage point. Deep below the waters of the Liffey, the main column for the new Samuel Beckett bridge was being poured. (Isn’t it nice that they named a bridge after that guy in Quantum Leap?there must be some serious Scott Bakula fans in Dublin…) A mysterious structure was also being erected on the quayside, just below our windows, which we now suspect will house the controls for the opening of the bridge.

The new bridge has been designed by an architect named Santiago Calatrava. It’s a nice elegant white structure, supposed to be reminiscent of a Celtic harp. Funnily enough, he has designed quite a few other bridges that all seem to be pretty much the same sort of shape, with the arm of the bridge at slightly different angles…

Oh well, stick to what you’re good at, eh…

Anyhoo, the big event of the year was the main structure being delivered by barge, from Rotterdam. Here it is coming up the river, through the East Link bridge, quite an impressive sight, especially given that the whole thing only had 18 inches space on either side coming through that bridge! (Click on the image for a whole series of great shots of the bridge’s progress)

At the moment, the workers are finishing off the access to both ends and surfacing the bridge itself. It should be open to traffic early 2010, maybe a little earlier to pedestrians. I can’t wait, it’s getting really exciting.

And yes, most of the excitement is because its opening will cut a good 15 minutes out of going to the nearest M&S.

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