Our new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists across the River Shannon in Athlone has just been given planning permission. It spans from the existing terrace next to the Luan Gallery on the west bank, to a new landing area next to the Radisson Hotel. The bridge then gently rises from springing points, reaching a high point at centre of the river. Here is a single pier, supporting the 2-span bridge. All structure is below deck; a simple, steel, profiled box-beam, increasing in depth from the banks towards the centre of the river and the support pier. In elevation the underside of the beam maintains a horizontal line, which is visually calm, as well as facilitating the required headroom for the navigation channel below.
The combination of the apex of the bridge, the single vertical support pier and the greatest depth of the structural beam, all being coincident at mid span, visually emphasises the importance of the centre of the river, and the symbolism of the location. This is further emphasised at deck level by marking the centre line of the river with an inlaid polished and engraved bronze band, set flush with the surface finish of the bridge, similar as that seen at tourist destinations along the equator, and marking the threshold between Leinster and Connacht, between east and west Ireland, half way down the N-S length of the Shannon and the symbolic centre of the island.
Client: Westmeath County Council
Location: River Shannon, Athlone
Currently on site. Completion Due Easter 2023
Seán Harrington Architects:
Seán Harrington, Shane Byrne, Thorsten Peters, Benjamen Cooney, Kristin Sleator.
Structural and Civil Engineers: Roughan & O’Donovan.
Contractor: Jons Civil Engineering Ltd.