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A Irish Bridge - photos of the Samuel Beckett Bridge


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One doesn’t really get to know a bridge in passing by, nor by simply crossing it. Only after one has observed it from all angles, and has trudged back and forth across the deck, can one begin to appreciate a bridge.

 

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For example, when I first walked by I wondered why the sawtooth-like joint at the south end of the bridge was on a radius. A little more observation and investigation revealed that the structure rotates 90 degrees to allow tall vessels to pass. And suddenly the radius made perfect sense.

 

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Much of the traffic in Dublin, Ireland, consists of bicycles and pedestrians. For that reason the Samuel Beckett Bridge was a particularly welcome addition when it opened in December 2009. It provides an additional crossing of the River Liffey further downstream than the city’s older bridges.

  

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Broad sidewalks make it a pleasure to be a pedestrian in Ireland, offsetting the disorientation one feels with the bicycles and automotive traffic on the “wrong” side of the road. Entirely prefabricated in Rotterdam and delivered to its home by barge, the bridge has many ship-like features. 

 

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The pylon and the stays are what really catch one’s eye. The top of the pylon is 147 ft above the River Liffey’s high-water level. (The river rises and falls with the tide.) The stays are anchored along the bridge’s centerline.

 

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From all angles, it is a beautiful bridge.

 

For additional commentary and links to further information about Dublin’s Samuel Beckett Bridge, go to http://www.modernsteel.com/SteelInTheNew
s/?p=394

 

Commentary and photos by Tom Klemens. To read the original article, go to www.modernsteel.com/backissues and select Topping Out from the June 2010 issue.


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