In 1999 Barcelona Harbor Authority launched a tender to connect the “Adosado” and “Poniente” docks, but providing an horizontal and vertical clearance of 85 m and 25 m, respectively; allowing great vessels traffic was a priority, so a long span movable bridge was needed.
After having studied several typologies, we reached the conclusion that the best solution, structurally, functionally, economically and aesthetically was a bascule bridge, made up with two movable frames, that in union with the Dock-Piers, results in a real gate, the Europe Gate Bridge.
With a distance between rotation hinges of 109 m, this bascule bridge is one of the largest of this typology in the world. Conceived as a stayed deck, the stays are not only helping the support gravity forces but also the important wind forces arising when the bridge is opened.
Its double leafs, with concrete piers and counterweights, have their front deck and counterweight centers of gravity aligned with its rotation hinges in order to ease operations.
In the transverse direction, one may appreciate the strong inclination of the suspension planes: stays and border girders of the deck, that solving with maximum clarity their connection, creates a strong visual integration and increase the transverse stiffness of the structure at the same time. Not to forget, finally, the increased brightness of the external steel surfaces caused by such transverse inclination.
The front and back stays are rigid steel box sections, that rise the stiffness in the bridge’s behavior, and which can support compression forces under wind loads when the movable bridge leaves are open.
The main water piers compose open concrete boxes full of visual force and dynamic feeling. Their openness allows the appreciation of the half-bridges rotation, including counterweights, making clear for people how this structure moves, opening and closing the maritime way.