The longest 3D-printed concrete bicycle bridge in the world

With a length of 29 meters, Nijmegen recently has the longest concrete 3D bicycle bridge in the world. The project is unique because the bicycle bridge was designed in complete freedom of form, thanks to research at Eindhoven University of Technology and the further development of the 3D concrete printing technique. Characteristic of the new appearance in the Dukenburg park De Geologenstrook are the round and sloping shapes.

The bridge was printed layer by layer in the concrete printing factory of Saint Gobain Weber Beamix and realized by construction group BAM. In addition to being the longest, it is also the largest concrete bridge in the world where the architect had complete freedom. Michiel van der Kley was able to work freely in the design and was not hindered by the material or by traditional processes, such as concrete formwork.

Because the span is not constant everywhere, and therefore the changing weight of the structure had to be taken into account, it was decided during the printing process to divide the bridge into printable parts. Via a parametric model – i.e. based on data – the final design was generated.
In principle, printed bridges can be built a lot faster than ordinary bridges, with more flexibility and more space for personalized designs. In addition, they are more durable, because less concrete is needed.

For the right knowledge and expertise, the help of Eindhoven University of Technology and in particular prof. Theo Salet, an expert in the field of 3D-printed buildings, was called in. Consultancy and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos has translated the design of the bridge into printable construction parts. The parametric model of the bridge has been developed by Summum Engineering.

(Photo: BAM

(Innovative Materials 2021 volume 5)