Many times an architectural structure resembles artwork. In these cases the construction which is produced deserves the special attention of engineers and contractors. The circular bridge designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly spanning the Laguna Garzón in Uruguay achieves precisely this combination.
The architect and his team devised a way which slows down the bridge crossing traffic speed, while forcing those who cross, to appreciate the environment around them. For choosing a non-traditional bridge shape thegovernmental authorities needed years of debate.
The radius of the bridge is 51.50 meters. The entrance and exit to the bridge is carried out with two straight adjustment segments. Each one has a length of 46.00 meters. Rafael Vinoly's draft, ensures two comfortable traffic lanes, while in the center an artificial lake of circular shape is created.
As the architect wrote:
“The concept of the Puente Laguna Garzón was to transform a traditional vehicular crossing into an event that reduces the speed of the cars, to provide an opportunity to enjoy panoramic views to an amazing landscape, and at the same time create a pedestrian place in the center”.
The construction began in late 2014 and was opened to traffic one year later. Construction costs amounted to 11.00 million dollars with 10.00 million coming from private funding. Before the construction of the bridge the vehicles wishing to cross between the counties of Maldonado and Rocha would have to individually load onto a raft and cross the water. Now, over 1000 cars are estimated to use the new bridge every day, making their communication much faster than before.
This project does not impress by size or difficulty of construction methods . It impresses the invention that incorporates the solution of a practical problem in order to overcome a physical barrier while highlighting the natural environment that surrounds it.