The Kissing Bridge

Inner Harbour Bridge / Kissing Bridge

Kan også læses på: Dansk

The tale of The Kissing Bridge is a lot longer than the bridge itself. And it is not the most favourable tale from the Danish building industry.

After about 3½ years of delay, the bridge opened in 2016. But it was a great success right away, counting as many as 15.000 bicyclists a day (later counts surpassed 17.000)!

I’m not in any way disputing this as a success. I’m a frequent and excited user of the connection to the less busy side of the harbour. The numerical success aside, the new, great views are adding to the quality of cycling in Copenhagen as such.

Also hundreds of thousands of visitors stop every season on the platforms to secure their mandatory snapshots of wonderful Copenhagen.

Hardship

But it certainly was a long process to get there. It was a high profile project, in a city that was eager to earn the status as a progressive and sustainable pioneer, with cycling as a symbol for its development.

An (overly) advanced project was picked as the winner of the design competition, and many hassles repeatedly postponed the completion. The root of most problems was the choice of a novel, mechanical solution for the opening of the bridge. Rather than going up or turn, the two middle parts of the bridge slide back to open. This is also the reason for its nickname, ‘The Kissing Bridge’, although the official name is actually the less catchy ‘The Inner Harbour Bridge’.

No one ever built a sliding bridge before quite like that, so of course, that caused technical difficulties. Bankruptcy and outdated drawings only made things worse, and workers abandoned the construction site inactive month after month as an embarrassment to the ambitious city.

While new funding came in place and construction continued, the project management stopped announcing new dates for the opening, so with only a few hours of notice, it finally opened in July of 2016, 3½ years later than anticipated.

Imperfections

The choice of construction, the sliding parts, also meant that the bike path needed a sharp turn on each side. That is less than ideal for a bike path, although it is mainly a problem in the busiest rush hour every morning.

Also, from an aesthetical perspective, I’m less excited. Not least in the light of the fine tradition for slim elegance in bridges in Denmark. Both in a small scale such as this, and in greater scale in numerous beautiful bridge constructions between Danish islands.

Sloping lines and curvy shapes are design features that have no apparent purpose other than to give the bridge a dramatic and ‘attractive’ look. To me, it seems overstrained and actually only emphasizes the bulkiness.

The view from the bridge certainly weighs on the plus side. But from all other places, views have impaired because of the voluminous and rather bulky construction. The Kissing Bridge now obstructs the long visual connections through the inner harbour.

The bridge is designed by London based Cesary Bednarskys firm, Studio Bednarski Ltd.

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