Today’s bridges are functional with many being aesthetically pleasing as well. They serve a useful purpose in getting vehicles and pedestrians safely over a body of water. If city planners from around the world have their way, bridges of the future will be much more than just bridges. They will be a central meeting point for entire communities to come together to enjoy music, recreation, socializing, and more. Designs for several of these bridges of the future have already started, with some recently unveiled and others slated to open in the next few years.
11th Street Bridge Park, Washington, D.C.
Scheduled for unveiling in 2019, the 11th Street Bridge Park will be the first elevated public park in the nation’s capital. Building crews are currently busy creating the bridge park on the piers of the previous bridge on 11th Street that spans the Anacostia River. Members of the local community and tourists alike will have the opportunity to participate in healthy recreational activities, visual arts, dance, music, and environmental activism. These activities take place on the underskirts of the bridge while traffic passes by overhead.
Garden Bridge, London
The Garden Bridge measures 366 meters (1,200 feet) across the River Thames in London. It begins at the top of the Temple underground station located on the North Bank and extends to the South Bank. This one-of-a-kind bridge will hold an expansive garden and be surrounded by wildlife. As pedestrians make their way across the bridge, they will weave through the garden and take in the beautiful scenery. The intended hours for the walking path are 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. City planners aim to unveil the Garden Bridge in 2020.
Lucky Knot Bridge, Changsa, China
Imagine a bridge with no beginning and no end. The people in Changsa, China don’t have to imagine it because the Lucky Knot Bridge with a 600-foot spine already stands in their city. This unique, bright red structure spans the entire Dragon King Harbor River. The spine of the bridge forms an endless loop similar to a Mobius ring. Pedestrians can exit through moon gates, which are circular passageways found in traditional Chinese garden architecture.
Køge North Train Station, Copenhagen
This practical and picturesque structure will open to the public in 2018. The train station is tubular in design and crosses over a busy motorway and railroad tracks. It also serves as a pedestrian bridge for the people of Køge. People walking inside the bridge will have spectacular views on both sides as well as protection from the weather conditions outdoors. As a noteworthy landmark, the Køge North Train Station will also become an essential transit hub for the region.
Roller Coaster Bridge, China
Still in the design stages, this 1,482-foot bridge connecting Zhangjiakou and Beijing is scheduled for completion in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The white rings of the Roller Coaster Bridge resemble those of the Olympic games. They also favor human DNA patterns and roller coaster designs. The Roller Coaster Bridge will span across the entire Gui River to improve traffic congestion for future Olympic games. Besides its incredible design, the bridge is unique in that it would require up to five times less steel to create than a standard box girder bridge.