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Bridging the Tiber

February 13, 2011

Ponte della Musica (image thanks to Roma Pedala)

Attempting to plan a route for my son to get from school to rowing lessons on the Tiber, I became interested in the progress of the two new bridges under construction across the Tiber. One bridge, the Ponte della Musica, would shorten his route significantly, filling a gap between bridges in the Flaminio neighborhood.  It would mean the difference between taking a reasonable bus ride and a safe, pleasant walk, and an impossibly long bus ride with a change to a tram and subsequent delays, at which point shuttling him by car becomes the more probable choice.

Two bridges were commissioned by a competition launched  in 2000 by Francesco Rutelli as part of the requalification plans for the Flaminio and Marconi/Ostiense neighborhoods, one to the north and one to the south of the city center.

The Ponte della Musica in north, designed by London-based firm Buro Happold in collaboration with Powell-Williams Architects,  spans the Tiber at the point between the Lungotevere Maresciallo Cadorna to the west and the Lungotevere Flaminio to the east, linking the sports area at Foro Italico with the Flaminio area which now boasts several important cultural venues, Renzo Piano’s Auditorium (thus the bridge’s name) and Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI Museum. Originally designed as a pedestrian/cycling bridge, the project was later expanded to allow the passage of a tram and public transportation, with inevitable delay in construction and cost overruns. One hopes it doesn’t also mean that it simply becomes another funnel for traffic, unsafe and unfit for bikers and pedestrians.

To the south, connecting the two former industrial areas of Ostiense and Marconi, the Ponte della Scienza will link the Gazometer in Ostiense with Lungotevere dei Papareschi where the Teatro India located in the former Mira Lanza soap factories, and the nearby Gambero Rosso gastronomic center, will soon be joined by university buildings and other cultural destinations. Designed by  APsT Architettura, the local firm of Gianluca Andreoletti, this bridge didn’t begin construction until 2008, only to be held up by archaeological investigations in 2010.  At present it is under construction but I have been unable to find any believable prediction of its completion date. This is a question of particular importance to those of us who use the bike path along the river’s edge which has been interrupted by the construction site for over a year now.

These two projects are a great sign that Rome can become more livable for its users, residents and visitors alike, and not just more profitable for the automotive-petroleum-construction lobby. It is a small step in the right direction.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2011 20:19

    So that second bridge is right by our project site!


  2. March 11, 2011 08:03

    I live very close to Ponte della Scienza and I pass by every morning while going to work. It seems that work are finally progressing, but what scares me is the total absence of signs of work in the surrounding of the bridge. A park was supposed to be realized in the Pietra Papa area (just around the H10 Hotel and the India theatre), but nothing seems to have changed since 2008. Also on the other side I don’see much of change in the Gazometer area, except for the part on the Ponte di Ferro side.

    My fear is that we will have a bridge going from nowehere to nowhere and when they finalize the surroundings eventually, the bridge will be already obsolete and in ruin.

    I hope I’m wrong…



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