The so-called Econtainer Bridge, designed by Tel Aviv-based Yoav Messer Architects will be the world’s first bridge made entirely of used shipping containers. The bridge will be built across the Ayalon River to the gates of the Ariel Sharon Park and it will be responsible for transporting about 2,000 acres of the Hiriya waste dump, which was closed in 2004, into a nature reserve. There is currently a 25 million-ton mountain of waste at Hiriya, which is threatening to collapse into the Ayalon river. The finished bridge will be 160 meters long (525 feet) and it is designed to carry bicycle and foot traffic. Cars will not be able to cross it, but there will be a public shuttle vehicle going across it.
The shipping containers used to build the bridge will be joined two-abreast and end-to-end with very little horizontal reinforcement needed. The primary structure of the bridge will be constructed by integrating a new steel truss with the containers. There will also be two cantilevering observation platforms, which will offer visitors the chance to take in the sights. Since the bridge will be built modularly and out of shipping containers, it will be easy to maintain and repair. This construction method also allows for using the containers’ natural properties to frame specific views. There will also be display panels running the length of the bridge that will keep visitors up to date with site-specific information and planned new projects.
From the plans, it appears that the architects addressed ventilation issue by removing the sides from most of the shipping containers. Shading will be provided via louvers placed at suitable angles. Solar PV panels will be installed on these louvers, which will generate enough power to illuminate the bridge and the surrounding landscape.
Most of the adaptation process of turning the used shipping containers into building blocks of the bridge will be done at an off-site factory, so as to minimize the damage to the natural site and speed up construction. The bridge is currently still in the planning stages and some aspects will likely still have to be adapted to the actual conditions.