Cycling through the heath

In collaboration with MAAT Ontwerpers, Witteveen+Bos has designed a wooden cycle bridge as part of the 'Fietsen door de Heide' project. This iconic, monumental bridge is no less than 294 metres long and forms the missing link between two cycling routes.

Safe cycling route through Mechelse Heide

With this project, Toerisme Limburg, a non-profit organisation promoting tourism in Belgian Limburg, aims to realise a fully integrated and safe cycling route through Mechelse Heide, one of the largest heaths in Flanders, while at the same time providing safe passage over the Weg naar Zutendaal.

Witteveen+Bos was responsible for the design, from the preliminary drafts to submitting applications for authorisation, as well as the public tender process. We worked closely with MAAT Ontwerpers during the design process to meet the architectural demands of our client.

Focus on safety and functionality to achieve 294-metre-long cycle bridge

It was important for our design to incorporate the aspects of safety, functionality and the cycling experience. In keeping with the rich mining history of the region, we chose an intricate structure of wooden beams and posts.

For the creation of this wooden structure we made a BIM design, in order to make the sloping deck would fit the supporting structure seamlessly. In this way, we created a pure supporting structure, with a strong emphasis on detailing of the components and connections.

The result is a bridge that consists of 3-metre spans, except where it crosses the Weg naar Zutendaal, where the span is 15 metres. It was also important to take the minimum height of the bridge into account to ensure the optimum flow of motorised traffic underneath.

This meant that we had to incorporate a gradual rise and fall of the ascending and descending slopes. This enables cyclists to rise gradually between the wooden structure to a height of 7 metres and then to descend again after a distance of 30 metres. It also created a flat area between the slopes that offers sweeping views over the heath.

A structure of strong and sustainable wood

We deliberately chose sustainable types of wood for the construction. This included the use of preserved coniferous wood from the local area for the walls of the cycle bridge. We incorporated classical fencing specifically in the flat area to ensure safety. For the support structure we opted for azobé, a type of timber known for its strength and resistance.

Witteveen+Bos oversees applications for authorisation, tender dossier and implementation of work

Witteveen+Bos drew up and submitted all of the applications for authorisation and maintained the tender dossier for this project. We also supported Toerisme Limburg during the public tender process in reviewing and auditing the tenders submitted by contractors for carrying out the work. Witteveen+Bos also supervised the work being carried out. The cycle bridge was officially opened to the public during a festive ceremony.

Is there a need for a new, safe cycling infrastructure in your region? Witteveen+Bos assesses the possibilities, develops a suitable and sustainable design and supervises the work. Simply get in touch with us. Together we will examine your needs in detail.

More information?

Kristof Myncke

PMC manager Infrastructural Development and Management