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Steel Shots: An Irish Image
Posted by Tom Klemens on April 23, 2010 at 2:45 PM.

Steel Shots: An Irish Image

Looking much like an Irish harp lying on its back, the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin, Ireland, opened on December 10, 2009. The cable-stayed steel box girder bridge spans 120 m (394 ft) from quay to quay; the top of the arching steel pylon is 48 m (157 ft) above the high water level of the River Liffey. Named for the Nobel Prize-winning Irish writer, the bridge was delivered by barge as an essentially complete structure.


The Samuel Beckett Bridge, whose Irish (or Gaeilge) name is Droichead Samuel Beckett, is the second bridge in Dublin designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. (The first, which opened in 2003, is the James Joyce Bridge, further up the River Liffey.) The entire 5,700-tonne (6,300-ton) structure was fabricated beginning in 2007 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, by Hollandia. The 120-m bridge made the seven-day journey on a 90-m by 26-m barge, arriving in Dublin on May 11, 2009.


The cable-stay anchorages run down the center of the bridge separating its two northbound and two southbound traffic lanes. Wide footpaths and cyclepaths are included on both sides to accommodate Dublin’s significant volume of non-vehicular traffic.


The entire structure is supported on one pier located out of the main navigation channel. It can rotate 90 degrees on that pier to allow the passage of taller vessels. Total cost of the bridge was 60 million euros ($82.3 million).


Additional information about and images of the Samuel Beckett Bridge are available on the Dublin City Council website.


For a stunning view of the illuminated bridge at night, from the Wikipedia entry, click here.


To see one photo of the float-in operation, from the Dublin website, click here.


Click here to view a short video file compiled from still photos taken May 13, 2009. It shows the bridge on the barge as it passed the raised East Link Bridge, making its way up the River Liffey, plus photos of the surrounding area. (Beware that it opens by showing the statues at the Famine Memorial on the Custom House Quay).

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