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Living Bridge, University of Limerick, Limerick

The longest pedestrian bridge in Ireland designed to create an organic relationship with the environment

The Living Bridge consists of a six spans cable trussed bridge structure constructed off location and then carefully integrated into a Special Area of Conservation across the River Shannon. The design is meant to create an organic relationship between the landscape, the bridge and the user.

The bridge is set out on a large, sweeping arch to minimise the impact of the structure on the river's islands. Arup developed the construction methodology to support the planning application and demonstrate that every effort had been made to minimise the environmental impact during the construction works.

A living link

The idea was to create a new ‘living’ link between the University’s established campus to the south of the River Shannon within County Limerick and its developing annexe to the north of the river within County Clare. At this location, the River Shannon is wide and shallow, fragmented by woodland growth and with extensive floodplains. 

As a candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC), this area supports the spawning of a number of species protected under the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). The environmentally sensitive nature of the site required a visual response which would celebrate the ‘hidden world’ of the river landscape and encourage users to linger as they cross. 

Arup worked closely with the statutory bodies and stakeholders to ensure all environmental concerns had been addressed at the preliminary design stage.