Infinity Bridge is a pedestrian footbridge across the River Tees in the borough of Stockton-on-Tees in the north east of England.
The bridge links the Teesdale Business Park and the University of Durham’s Queen’s Campus with the Tees Valley Regeneration’s £320 million North Shore development on the north bank.
Built at a cost of £15 million, the bridge is a major part of the North Shore Redevelopment Project undertaken by Tees Valley Regeneration.
Bespoke acdc and Speirs + Major worked together to create a stunning lighting solution for the iconic structure. Along the surface of the bridge, light is programmed to respond to the presence of pedestrians, guiding them down the walkway with custom made, blue and white LED units concealed under the handrail.
Each unit uses a maximum of 3W for both colours or, as the light is either blue or white, closer to 1.5W for each unit and there are 200 units lighting the footbridge.
As pedestrians cross the bridge, sensors trigger a change from blue to white, leaving a ‘comet’s trail’ in the persons wake.
The engineering brief was for a prestigious and iconic landmark footbridge at North Shore Stockton and the finished structure is a dual, tied-arch or bowstring bridge.
Infinity Bridge has a pair of continuous structural steel arches with suspended precast concrete decking and one asymmetrically placed river pier.
The arches diverge to form a double rib over the pier and a reflex piece between the two arches holds them togetherto create one continuous curve.
At night from certain viewing angles the arches, together with their reflection in the river, appear as an infinity symbol and it is this effect that inspired the name.
Speaking about the lighting project, Iain Ruxton, Associate at Speirs + Major, Edinburgh commented: “As this was purely a pedestrian bridge, we wanted to create an effect that wasn’t static and would effectively bring the bridge to life – a solution that was far more creative than a pre-programmed kinetic effect. We set ourselves a difficult challenge with the unique lighting concept and all we had to do was find a partner who could deliver the right solution.”
“That was why we turned to acdc; they manufacture here in the UK and we were sure, from the relationship we have enjoyed with the company over the years, they would come up with the answer. acdc delivered a bespoke luminaire, used in conjunction with sensing electronics from Lee Engineering that fully answered the brief; creating a stunning but unusual lighting effect, which has had a fantastic response from the client and most importantly the people who use the bridge.”
No other bridge is known to have the same design, hence the reason why the project has gone on to win the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Supreme Award for Structural Excellence 2009, the premier structural engineering award in the UK.
The other awards the bridge has won include the Green Apple Award for the environment, the ICE Robert Stephenson Award 2009 and the North East Constructing Excellence Awards ‘Project of the Year’. Infinity Bridge won an RIBA award in 2010.
Article by Marco Rinaldi