The Moreelsebrug is a concrete structure that bridges the tracks of Utrecht Central Station, enabling cyclists and pedestrians to easily cross the station area. The Moreelsebrug was finalised late 2016. The project’s main contractor is ProRail. The bridge’s substructure was performed by Strukton Colijn and the superstructure was performed by BSB Staalbouw.For this project, Octatube is respopnsible for all balustrades.
The bridge is 312 meters long, 10 meters wide and is equipped with staircases and bicycle gutters on both ends. The construction consists of 12 V-shaped columns with concrete bridge elements spanned onto them. Due to the fact that the streets connected to the east and west ends of the bridge are not located straight across from each other, the bridge has a curve.
Slenderness was the focal point of the bridge’s design, which is why this was also a starting point for the balustrade. Octatube was assigned as subcontractor because, similar to cepezed, the aim for structurally high-end products is one of the company´s strengths. This ultimately led to a simple and elegant structure, despite the complexity of the design. The balustrade consists of an aluminium handrail and steel fins with built-in LED lighting and has a combined length of approximately one kilometre.
The handrail serves as a structural barrier, a mounting profile for the glass panels, and a lighting fixture. The built-in LED lighting obviates the need for lampposts, thus avoiding additional visual obstruction.
The top of the balustrade’s handrail was originally designed to be flat, but Octatube discovered that the steel fins would cause the surface of the handrail to become bumpy and uneven, which ultimately lead to the implementation of a rounded custom extruded rail profile. Bart van Velzen, project manager of Octatube explains: “In order to make the handrail align with the bridge’s curvature, it was bent on site. Aluminium is convenient for this. Additionally, aluminium is suitable for making custom extrusion profiles”.
Following the structural design of the bridge, the balustrades are provided with dilations to allow fow material expansion or shrinkage resulting from fluctuations in temperature. Since the completion of the bridge, maintenance works can only be performed from the bridge itself. This was taken into account in the design of the balustrades. If a glass panel needs to be replaced, this can be done from the inside.