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Third Millennium Bridge
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DESCRIPCION

 With the aim of connecting Pablo Ruiz Picasso and Pablo Gargallo streets, the council entrust to Arenas&Asociados the conception of a bridge for connecting both sides of the Ebro. Framed into the rehabilitation of the riverbanks for the ”Expo of the Water”, it was designed as a large bowstring bridge with 216m in its main span, the biggest concrete bowstring bridge of the world. Its construction, completely made in high performance white concrete, was a technological innovation, making the bridge a symbol of the modern Zaragoza after EXPO 2008.
The bowstring mechanism allows spanning the river with cleanliness, in just one step. Its central arch born and die in the vertex of triangular frames that in both sides of the bridge, act as gates for drivers, pedestrians, or cyclers.
Design of full originality, it results from the natural evolution of the bridge's typology inaugurated by Juan José Arenas with "La Barqueta" bridge, built in Sevilla over the Guadalquivir, as an entry for the EXPO 1992.
 
"La Barqueta" bridge is a steel structure which measures between the boundaries edges are 168 meters by 30 meters, remaining low compared to the 216 meters by 48 that are required in Zaragoza. Two decades ago, "La Barqueta" supposed an original design in the steel bridges world scene. However, Zaragoza is not only far from being just a repetition of the Sevilla's bridge but also establish a step forward in many different directions. The concrete of the Third Millennium Bridge, much heavyweight than steel, involves a clear improvement on the dynamic damping of the vibrations produced by the traffic. Although perhaps, the major reason for designing this bridge could be an economical one since our estimations reflect that even though it's constructive difficulties, the cost of the concrete arch, could be around the half of an steel one.
The width of the bridge in its flight over the Ebro, which can reach the 43 m, transmits a great feeling of stability, aplomb, and an enormous three-dimensional volume wealth. The aspect of the transversal section of the Zaragoza's bridge, is a trapezium limited by two inclined concrete planes which look like the bow of a ship against the wind, and with a circular side-face soffit, which produces a soft increment of the beam depth from both edges to the center, creating a figure of great geometric interest, rhythmic, with a great sense of softness, and a total formal integration.
 
Additionally, the set square-shaped enlargements of the sidewalk, which act as pedestals beneath the entrance frames, create a resting area for walkers where they can contemplate the river, conferring to the Zaragoza's bridge a unique personality. Bearing in mind the harsh climatic conditions of the capital city of Aragón, we propose two glazed galleries for pedestrians, composing transparent tubes which will provide not only protection from rain and wind,  but also a place where they can contemplate the river sitting under the sun, and covered from the wind.
The high performance white concrete used in the arch, with a yield strength to compression of 75MPa, confers to the structure an unique visual quality, and is very important to preserve the marble appearance of the arch, that only white concrete, even obscured by the atmosphere and the smokes of the traffic, can achieve.
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Arenas & Asociados - 2012