The Jubilee Bridge, affectionately known as the brainchild of Singapore’s founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew, was conceived as a barrier-free access pedestrian bridge that forms a seamless link with the Marina Bay waterfront pedestrian loop.
Emerging champions from a competition held in 2009, Arup, Cox Architecture and architects61’s winning design is an elegant and sleek geometry that connects two famed landmarks – the Esplanade Theatre and the Merlion. Its simple, shiny curvilinear pathway takes reference from the water spray of the Merlion and was designed to counterpoise the more elaborate Helix Bridge across the bay.
Set in a busy maritime environment, the design team were challenged to achieve the aspiration of a slender bridge form, while minimising disruption to the public during construction.
220m long bridge
Bridge over busy waters
Created to cater for large crowds, the Jubilee Bridge is three times wider than its adjacent Esplanade Bridge and can hold at least 2,000 people.
Made of three spans, the entire weight of the bridge rests on two main columns. The bridge utilised a post-tensioned, single-cell concrete box girder of varying depth as its structural system, forming a continuous slender box spanning between the columns. The result is a structure that does not require any vertical support from above the deck, allowing for unhindered views of Marina Bay.
The bridge deck has a varying curved section to accommodate the changing needs due to structural stiffness. Arup pushed boundaries on the structural design to achieve a shallow deck depth of 1.5m at mid-span and 3.5m at the two columns – realising the sleek design and beautiful curved geometry at its apex. Driving efficiencies into the design translated to economies in material cost and a wider unobstructed watercraft access in and out of the Singapore River.
Shouldering the weight
Pinning its entire weight on the two columns not only requires a robust structural system but one that allows maximum flexibility and strength to resist any accidental impact forces, as well as minimises the thermal effect.
To this end, Arup proposed a flexible design by using a system of twin blades column with post-tensioning tendons to define the bridge pier. With this configuration, the substructure will attract less load from the superstructure. In this way, forces induced by the expansion and contraction of the bridge deck caused by temperature change, and concrete creep and shrinkage effect can be well anticipated. Not only does this allow for a more economical piles foundations design, it is also more sustainable for maintenance in the long run.
Bridging the gap
With its timely completion to mark the nation’s 50th year of independence, the iconic bridge has become intricately linked to the Singapore’s modern history. It forms part of an 8km heritage trail around the Civic District and closes the pedestrian loop in the precinct.
Offering an unobstructed panoramic view of Singapore’s magnificent skyline, the Jubilee Bridge has since added to the city’s vibrancy and aided its aspiration of becoming a walkable city.
Providing occupant safety and comfort
The form of the bridge is thoughtfully complemented by its wheelchair friendly design and programmable energy saving LED lighting. The brilliantly concealed night lighting contributes to the lightness of the structure and enhances water reflectivity. The slender stainless steel cable balustrade handrail provides a discreet and concealed lighting system to light up the stone tile surface and avoid glare sources. To ensure the bridge’s safety circulation during large gatherings, crowd separation barriers were put in place.
Arup carried out vibration studies to ensure that under normal intended usage, the dynamic response of the bridge will not exceed the comfort of the users. Numerous scenarios simulating pedestrians on foot, use of the bridge for a marathon and other activities were done and analysed to optimise the user experience and comfort.