Innovative Circular Bridge Constructed to Decrease Driver Speeds - Creativity Bay
May 31, 2023

Innovative Circular Bridge Constructed to Decrease Driver Speeds

Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly defied convention by designing a round bridge, a departure from the traditional bridge shapes typically envisioned by designers.

Recently opened to the public, the bridge that spans the Laguna Garzón in Uruguay has captured people’s curiosity, prompting them to question the rationale behind its unconventional construction. Unlike many architectural endeavors focused solely on aesthetics, this bridge serves a distinct purpose and fulfills a practical necessity.

Source: Rafael Vinoly Architect

The bridge designers aimed to tackle two goals simultaneously: reducing vehicle speed and encouraging drivers to admire the surrounding environment. After years of extensive deliberation within the government, they opted for a distinctive circular design. The bridge boasts a radius of 51.5 meters, with two straight sections of 46 meters each at the entrances. Remarkably, this design accommodates two traffic lanes while incorporating a central lagoon suitable for fishing activities.

“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 centre,” said architect Rafael Viñoly.

Commencing in late 2014, the construction of this project reached completion just over a year later, opening its doors to the public. The entire roadway, valued at approximately $11 million, was primarily funded through private sources, with $10 million contributed. In contrast to numerous architectural endeavors driven by aesthetics alone, this particular undertaking was a necessity. Previously, individuals traveling between the counties of Maldonado and Rocha had to embark on individual rafts to traverse the water. Presently, with the advent of this new bridge, over 1000 vehicles are estimated to utilize it daily, significantly enhancing commute times for motorists.

Source: Rafael Vinoly Architects

The Uruguayan government is hoping to usher in a new era for the country, focusing more on tourism and sustainability. Uruguay received 2.9 million visitors in 2015, a sharp increase from the previous year. Through the construction of this bridge, officials seek to drive visitors and locals to the largely undeveloped coastline of Rocha.

Source: Rafael Vinoly Architects

Circular bridges aren’t uncommon, however they are rarely meant for road traffic. The Laguna Garzón bridge combines the beauty of a circular structure with key functional aspects of its design and the wonder of the landscape.

While the project does not garner its attention from extreme size, the bridge is gaining a lot of interest, just as designers and officials intended.

Source: Rafael Vinoly Architects

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