29 Jun 2014

Odins Bro


My Sunday ride [of 44miles] took me to see the new Odin's Bridge in Odense. By an unhappy coincidence I passed very close by on the day it opened [15.6.2014] but had not heard anything about it before seeing it on the local TV news. Had I merely glanced across from my route I would certainly have seen it.

The new bridge is a double swing device with two rotating sections of roadway. Each supported on its own massive pivot. The dramatic triangular braces support the weight of the two moveable road sections. Apparently the bridge sets new records for swing bridge length.

There are four lanes of roadway and four of cycle path. Or is it a mix of cycling and pedestrian paths? The latter are provided on one side of the bridge only. Making access rather difficult for cyclists from one direction of approach. Thanks to the lack of traffic I hopped off and safely crossed the four traffic lanes on foot to reach the cycle path on the other side!

Quite a number of cyclists were struggling to find and properly access the bridge from the direction of my original approach. [Tarup, Naesby and Søhus] Google Earth doesn't help at all. The aerial imagery is [very typically for Denmark] 3 years out of date. Showing only a construction site for the approach roads.

It was spitting from a threatening sky when I arrived but thankfully it didn't rain properly. A superb ramp is thoughtfully provided to allow cyclists to join and leave the canal side path. Thanks to its considerable length the incline seemed easily manageable by most cyclists who tried. I do think a barrier should be provided at the bottom. One over-enthusiastic mountain biker nearly went into the water when he badly lost tyre grip taking the sharp turn on the loose gravel at the bottom! Whoops! OMG! Splosh!

However, on the other side of the bridge only a steep set of steps is provided to join the bridge cycle path to the industrial road below.

I watched quite a  number of cyclists riding down the grass bank to avoid dismounting and bumping down the steps! A very short-sighted provision for cyclists in my humble view. Quite a gentle tarmac ramp, just beyond the steps, could easily have been provided without altering the landscape.

Any doubts about the safety of such a ramp will soon be countered when the unofficial ramp quickly turns to wet mud after rain! Then the daring cyclists will slide right into the path of the traffic!  

One of the huge, bridge pivots is shown with my trike and a bike for scale.

The Odense Ship Canal beyond stretches towards the town centre. Though it doesn't reach that far. The distant silos are only leaning due to image curvature of the Panasonic TZ7.

I cannot imagine the twin bridges will need to be opened very often. The former users of the ship canal are but distant memories and their vast storage buildings long  demolished.

There is still considerable landscaping to be done on the canal-side pathway.

Just imagine how boring these roadway struts would be as simple isosceles triangles. The deliberate lean of the triangles nicely expresses the strain of supporting the great weight and imparts superb visual energy into the whole design.   

A single, asymmetric support strut and central pivot are well seen in this view.

The triangular façade of the bridge control building mirrors the dramatic form of the bridge stays. It could so easily have been badly designed. I quite like the building except for that hideous, white block wall! It looks as if they forgot to demolish something that was already sitting there.

A cantilevered control box allows a clear view in both directions along the ship canal. 

A small group of cyclists enjoying the rather narrow canal path as they approach the bridge from the direction of the town centre. The canal path continues but deteriorates to rough gravel just beyond the bridge. Strictly a mountain biker and experienced jogger's route into the semi-industrialised countryside beyond.

There were probably more cyclists in the area than motorised traffic on this end of June Sunday at lunchtime. With several bunches of uniformed clubmen out training as they swiftly crossed the bridge. 

This earlier aerial image is credited to fyens.dk under the banner of Fyns Stiftidende Newspapers. [Image From 11.2.2014]

The bridge road sections still look unfinished in this view. The image still gives a good idea of the bridge layout when the roadways are rotated to open the canal for ship traffic. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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