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Monday, January 16, 2012
Ponte Ostiense: Under Construction
Through a hole in the fence.
In October, we pulled the scooter off Via Ostiense for a quick look at another of Rome's new bridges. We couldn't get all that close, but we did manage to get a good pic looking through a hole in the fence (right); another with the camera held over the fence (below); and a third of a big on-site posting listing everyone who was working on the project and a rendering of what it was supposed to look like when completed.
Lots of lanes.
The new bridge, over the Metro tracks and the Roma-Lido railway, will connect the heavily-trafficked Circonvallazione Ostiense (with Garbatella to the south and Ostiense to the north) with Via Ostiense, a major north-south thoroughfare that runs right into the Pyramid. That's fine, but the real purpose of the bridge is apparently to connect Via Cristoforo Colombo (an enormous highway heading to the ocean) on the east with Viale Marconi, on the west. And to do that adequately will mean another bridge, this one to span the Tevere below the old, out-dated, over-used, but loved Ponte di Ferro ("Iron bridge", officially Ponte dell'Industria).
On its west side, the bridge will touch down right next to the now-abandoned Magazzini Generali (General Storage Area--a now-abandoned massive market/wholesale distribution center), to be redesigned by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. There is also a larger, visionary project involved, the brainchild of former mayor Walter Veltroni, something called the Citta' di Giovani (City of Youth), which imagines revitalizing Ostiense, an older industrial but already trendy area with bars, clubs, and restaurants catering to young people. (Of course, the young folks already have started up their bars and clubs here, as we've reported - more than once.) Apparently Koolhaas is in charge of the larger project.
We would like to credit Koolhaas as the architect of the bridge, but no one is saying that, and the designer of the structure remains a mystery, Nor does the bridge have a name, although it is sometimes referred to as the Ponte Ostiense. Rome's commissioner of public works proudly announced that a bridge of this type--arches supported by steel wires was his description--would be a first for the city, and he may be right. The structure is 240 meters from end to end, with 125 meters fully suspended. Three vehicle lanes each direction (two of the six for public vehicles), and ample sidewalks for pedestrians.
Ponte della Musica
We claim no expertise in bridge design, but we like the look of this one. We would have liked it more had we not seen the new pedestrian (so far) Ponte della Musica (right), over the Tevere to the north, with its wavy curves fashioned from white tubing, not unlike the emerging Ponte Ostiense. (See our earlier post on that bridge.) After all, we're in the era of the designer bridge--like the 1950s was the era of the glass skyscraper--and some of the designs, despite their obvious differences, have a similar look and style. Not bad, just not "wow we haven't seen that before."