The glass floor of the Ponte della Costituzione bridge in Venice that crosses the Grand Canal will be replaced by stone, due to the numerous cases of accidents in which pedestrians have slipped across it.
Inaugurated in 2008, the almost 100 meter long structure of the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, built in metal Y glass, has been involved in controversy since its inception, both for construction and cost issues: went from 7 to 11.6 million euros.
In 2019, Calatrava was fined by the Venice Court of Accounts with the payment of 78,000 euros for errors that increased the cost of construction from the Ponte della Constituzione on the Grand Canal in Venice.
It was a surprising addition to the architecture of the city, which links the Venice train station with the car, bus and ferry terminal of Piazzale Roma.
From the beginning, associations of people with disabilities lamented the lack of access for wheelchairsTherefore, a capsule-type cabin with elevator access was installed at a cost of around 1.5 million euros. But it was later dismantled after complaints that it was too slow and too hot in the summer.
To avoid the many slips of your controversial glass floor, various tactics have been tried over the years: resin patches and slip-resistant decals, trachyte stone placed along the middle of the walkway, and signs warning visitors of possible loss of traction.
Nothing has worked.
The amount of falls has led Venice to allocate 500,000 euros to completely replace the glass with trachyte stone, as reported The New York Times.
“People hurt themselves and sue the administration,” he told the newspaper. Francesca Zaccariotto, a public works official in Venice. “We have to intervene. We can’t always do poetry. We must provide security ”.
Retired dockworker Angelo Xalle, 71, told the newspaper: “That is not a bridge. It’s a trap”.
Calatrava is one of the most famous architects in the world. The professional’s works were always original, but not without detractors.
One of the most recognized masters of world architecture, Calatrava created iconic projects around the world. But his works were also tainted by scandals due to their monumental costs and construction failures, both in his native country and abroad. The futuristic City of Arts and Sciences (CACV) generated criticism for its budget, which exceeded the expected USD 416 million and reached about USD 1.7 billion.
And Venice is not the first city to experience problems with Calatrava bridges. In 2011, Bilbao was forced to place a huge black rubber mat on a Calatrava pedestrian bridge paved with glass tiles because many pedestrians had slipped and fallen.
The Spanish architect also designed the Transportation Center of World Trade Center in New York, the Peace Bridge in Calgary, Bridges Margaret McDermott in dallas and the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin.
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