A (pedestrian) bridge to the future

Progressive and innovative Rotterdam builds an URBCON bridge

Rotterdam may have come out of the Second World War badly damaged, but nothing stopped the Rotterdammers from rebuilding their beloved city. Innovation and renewal run through the veins of every Rotterdammer; just look at the striking architecture. And URBCON becomes a part of that, thanks to the brand new pilot project 'the pedestrian bridge'; literally and figuratively a bridge to the future. Albert, project leader at the municipality of Rotterdam, tells us all about it. 

Albert: "As project leader for the city, I am mainly responsible for the infrastructure. Think of railway subways, viaducts, parking garages ... The more projects you manage and the less new ones, the more room there is for the 'special ones' like URBCON. Besides, URBCON's objectives fit in perfectly with Rotterdam's ambition to be climate neutral in 2050. Together with my team of 6 other diligent employees, we throw ourselves fully into such a project. Rotterdam is also a proud partner of the project. URBCON was keen to have cities involved, and both Rotterdam and the city of Ghent signed up." 

Pedestrian bridge

Albert: "Our pilot project here in Rotterdam is a new pedestrian bridge built with URBCON's ecological concrete. We will be putting the first hands on the pedestrian bridge early next year if all goes well. At this moment, TU Delft and Ghent University are busy with the different test phases of the new URBCON concrete mixture. For example, they are going to test the durability of the concrete. How does such a concrete mixture behave in the long term? How does the concrete react to frost? 

"But we are not sitting still at the municipality of Rotterdam. We are taking care of the preparations for the tender. We have approached three potential contractors, who have in any case, shown an interest in this type of innovative project. In the end, we will have to decide and choose the contractor with the best proposal, a proposal that is in line with the URBCON vision linked to that of Rotterdam. And before you know it, I'll be strolling across the pedestrian bridge myself, enjoying the beauty that Rotterdam has to offer."

"If we focus more on the pedestrian bridge we are going to build: there will be a concrete mixture in it, where we intervene both on the cement mixture and on aggregate. In traditional concrete, the aggregate normally consists of gravel, and to extract that gravel, they have dug gigantic pits here along the Maas, specifically in Limburg. Unfortunately, the damage to nature is enormous, but we see a solution.  We look at other materials and how applicable they are. These secondary raw materials, as they are called, can be very diverse. For example, you can use broken concrete rubble as a supplement. In short, circularity plays a key role in this story."

Climate-neutral by 2050

Albert: "The City of Rotterdam aims to be climate neutral by 2050. But what does climate-neutral actually mean? On the one hand, we are talking about circularity, and on the other about sustainability in the sense of energy neutrality, reducing CO2 emissions... The ultimate form of circularity is that what you have built returns to cement and aggregate after a certain period of time. You actually start all over again with the entire process, which unfortunately requires a lot of energy. URBCON resolutely strives to make this circularity as clean as possible, by introducing new building techniques and thus coming closer to the climate objectives. We are literally and figuratively building a bridge to the future."

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