Pedestrian Bridge at West India Dock, London
Unlike Canary Wharf, only a stone’s throw away, the west side of West India Dock has remained undeveloped up to now. The floating pedestrian bridge designed to link the two districts is a formally independent structure based on the pontoon principle. The 94-metre-wide dock is bridged by a series of elements with a maximum span of 15 metres. The entire structure was prefabricated at works, assembled and towed in two parts to its final location. To prevent the bridge drifting out of position, the pairs of pontoons are fixed to tubular steel piles rammed into the bed of the dock. The prestressing of the concrete-filled tubes is designed to resist the maximum loading at ebb tide. As a result, the bridge does not rise and fall with the tide (roughly 40 cm range) and with the changing load of pedestrians. Two 6.60-metre segments in the middle can be raised hydraulically to allow ships to pass. Rubber buffers protect the pontoons against the impact of boats. The pontoons are also filled with polyurethane foam to prevent water entering in the event of damage. On plan, the bridge tapers towards the centre. Coloured lights along the sides of the deck and lamps in the handrails articulate the lines of the construction.