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Rotating footbridge in Gdansk. An unusual connection between Granary Island and the city

05 of October '20

Granary Island has been accessible via a rotating footbridge since August 2020. This is another step to revitalize this part of the city. Granary Island has already been under intensive development and restoration for several years. The footbridge allows free communication and flow of tourist traffic. This is the second such investment in Gdansk, after the footbridge over Olowianka.

Footbridges for pedestrians are a good solution to maintain continuity of communication on a given section despite the existence of a barrier preventing passage. In Poland, it has enjoyed unflagging popularity for a long time. Many of them are footbridges of a purely communicative nature. As many as 10 footbridges have been built over Zakopianka in recent years to increase the safety of pedestrians crossing this busy route. Similar footbridges were built over the A1 highway. At one time there was a lot of publicity about a circular footbridge towering over one of Rzeszow's intersections. Its unique shape and the materials used, such as exotic wood, among others, made it an expensive investment - its construction cost 12 million zlotys. However, the footbridge has improved communication and safety within one of the busiest intersections in the city.

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Apost shared by Kursy Fotografii Marcin Plezia (@kursyfotografii)

A circular footbridge in Rzeszow

© Kurs Fotografii Marcin Plezia

tourist catalyst

A significant part of the buildings being erected, in addition to their transportation function, are also a tourist attraction in themselves. Footbridges also work well as catalysts for change in neighborhoods that until now, due to poor transportation, have not been popular with tourists. In Krakow, a bicycle and pedestrian Bernatka Foot bridge was built connecting Kazimierz and Podgórze, which made the latter district, a popular destination for tourists and residents. There is an ongoing discussion in Krakow about another footbridge that would connect Ludwinów and Dębniki. A similar function of revitalizing the city, was fulfilled by a rotating footbridge in Ustka, opened in 2013. It connects two parts of the cities, which until now were connected only by a bridge deep inside the city. Przemyśl and Mikolajki also have their footbridges.

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View of Olowianka Island and the drawbridge

© Photo Patryk Kosmider

first to Olowianka

The rotating footbridge on the Motlawa River is the second of its kind in the city, after the Olowianka footbridge. The first one connected the old city and Olowianka Island in 2017. At the time, it proved to be a hit. Tourists are eager to visit the island, and residents also benefit from this turn of events. It has widened and lengthened the tourist routes considerably. Until now, traffic stopped at the Long Embankment, as further on there was no simple and intuitive passage. Thanks to the footbridge, tourists can move freely. The footbridge to Olowianka is drawbridge so as not to block river traffic. This is a requirement that all footbridges and bridges on the Motlawa River must meet, as it is a river used as a waterway.

Walkers on the rotating footbridge

© Grzegorz Mehring

second in the city

After Olowianka, it was the turn of Granary Island. In recent years it has been intensively expanded and restored. We wrote about the investments on its northern tip here, on the occasion of receiving the MIPIM Awards 2020 award, which was given to Granaria Development, which is leading the investment on the island in public-private partnership with the city. Granaria is also responsible for the new footbridge, which connected Gdansk with the island just at the level of its northern prom ontory and Św. Ducha Street on the Długi Pobrzeże side. The project was prepared by Studio Bednarski Ltd. of London. The footbridge is 57 meters long, 4.5 meters wide and weighs 105 tons. It is fixed on a concrete longitudinal arbor. By rotating 90 degrees, it can connect the two banks or leave room for boats crossing the river. The footbridge has a delicate wavy line, sloping balustrades and illumination - all in accordance with the guidelines of the city's conservation officer. The investment cost 10 million zlotys.

opening quietly

The pandemic prevented a lavish opening of the footbridge. It was held quite simply, without any special setting. The traffic operator at 9 o'clock simply formed the footbridge, and the first pedestrians walked to the island. It is worth mentioning that formally, this was the second opening of the footbridge. The first, a test one, was held around Christmas 2019. However, it is only since August 1, 2020 that the footbridge has been in regular operation. It is opened whenever requested by the captaincy of the Gdansk marina, which sends a signal to the attendant on duty. The schedule of the footbridge's openings is coordinated with that of the Olowianka footbridge.

More about Gdansk, Granary Island and the rotating footbridge can be found in texts by Ewa Karendys: Nowe życie Wyspy Spichrzów and Alternatywny przedownik po Gdańsku.

Helena Postawka-Lech

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