Project Description

The Abetxuko Bridge stretches across the Zadorra River in Vitoria, Spain. It was opened in 2007, to better connect the village of Abetxuko to the rest of the city. The bridge is intended as a metaphor and a vindication of an open and creative engineering design which at the same time does not exclude the more traditional vision of an analytical and pragmatic design.

The bridge is a continuous structure with three spans of 26+40+26 m and a total deck width of 31.4 m. It accommodates four road traffic lanes, a central tramway line with two tracks, and two pedestrian walkways. The structural system consists of two parallel trusses with organic forms, whose dimensions were adjusted according to the structural analysis. The design of the truss is intended as a deliberate diversion from the traditional straight forms and uses curves with an apparently arbitrary elevation. The irregular, curvaceous forms of this bridge are in defiance of the traditional use of symmetry, purity and order in engineering design.

Design/Construction Approach

The fabrication of the complex steel structure was carried out at a steel shop in Vitoria. The process included preparation of drawings, definition of the pieces, cutting, preparation of plate edges, bending of curved plates, pre-assembling, welding of stiffeners, assembling of the segments, transport to the site, and the erection of the sections and welding of the rest of the steel members. This process illustrates the enormous possibilities available through Cad/CN techniques. As the inner surfaces of the steel structure are inaccessible, the members were made completely watertight.

Further Information

Sobrino, J.A.; “Aesthetics of urban steel bridges”, Modern Steel Construction, AISC Magazine (ISSN 0026-8445), pp 52-55, March 2012.

Sobrino J.A.; “Abetxuko Bridge over Zadorra River in Vitoria” (in Spanish Puente de Abetxuko sobre el río Zadorra en Vitoria), Cauce 2000: Revista de la ingeniería civil (ISSN-0212-761X), n 139, pp. 74-77, 2008.

Municipality of Vitoria
Vitoria (Spain)
Key Elements
Organic Shapes, Through-girder Steel Bridge, Weathering Steel
Feasibility Studies/Conceptual Design
Detailed Design
Erection and Construction Engineering
Abetxuko Road Bridge over the Zadorra River
Abetxuko Road Bridge over the Zadorra River
Abetxuko Road Bridge over the Zadorra River
Abetxuko Road Bridge over the Zadorra River
Abetxuko Road Bridge over the Zadorra River