In 1999, the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Israel Ministries of Transportation and Finance began its plans to construct the Jerusalem Light Rail mass transit system consisting of eight lines. The first line will run 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Pisgat Zeev to Yad Vashem and includes the Jerusalem's Central Bus Station and the Eastern Gate entrance to Jerusalem. At the request of the City of Jerusalem, Calatrava designed a new bridge in the city's key area near the Central Bus Station to carry the light rail across a densely developed urban area and to resolve the traffic and pedestrian issues, while creating a new landmark for the entrance to the city. To accommodate this difficult site, Calatrava proposed a cable-stayed bridge with a single inclined pylon rising above the urban surroundings.
Spanning over a busy traffic intersection, the new light rail bridge curves in an S-form as it goes from Jaffa Road to Herzl Boulevard. This free spanning structure clears the way for a public plaza situated below the bridge and permits pedestrians to cross the main traffic junction safely. The pylon consists of a very slender and streamlined triangular-shaped steel box inclined backwards to show visible tension as well as create a clear visual direction towards the city. Attention was drawn to the cables arranged in a parabolic shape and develops three-dimensionally in space, thus amplifying the impressive unique visual impact of the bridge. Overall, the strings and form of this structure suggested a giant harp — the harp of King David as a symbol of the holy city — inspiring city residents to refer it as the 'Bridge of Strings'.
Although the embankments are constructed out of Jerusalem stone, in order to retain its local zoning and tradition, the bridge's pylon and cables are made of steel. A band of light running along the pedestrian walkway was incorporated into the light rail bridge. A public plaza was created under the bridge and the bridge itself serves as a new gateway to the city. Calatrava expressed his hope for the bridge to become a symbol and a force for reconciliation. 'Bridges join places that were separated,' he states. 'They are built for the sake of progress and for the average citizen. They even have a religious dimension. The word 'religious' comes from the Latin, meaning 'creating a link'. A bridge makes a lot of sense in a city like Jerusalem.'
2002 - 2008
Bridge of Strings