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Location: Wielsbeke – Waregem
Discipline: Civil engineering & infrastructure, Port, river & hydraulic engineering, Urbanism & Design
Period: 2020 - ...

Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge Wielsbeke Waregem

Start of the works

November 2021


Opening tenders

Contract award

Spring 2021

Environmental permit approved

March 2021

Execution and tender dossier

December 2020

Environmental permit application

October - November 2020

Steering committee meeting – final design

September 2020

Steering committee meeting – preliminary design

April 2020

Start study

January 2020

As part of the Seine Scheldt Flanders project, the Leie is being broadened to improve inland navigation in Flanders, considering nature and recreation. Therefore the client De Vlaamse Waterweg nv is working together with the municipality Wielsbeke and the city of Waregem to construct a new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. After completion, everyone will be able to experience both the Leie and tourist attractions on both river banks in a pleasant and safe manner. SBE is responsible for the integral design of the bridge, including approach ramps, environmental constructions and the river bank protections to be added.

By opting for a link between Wielsbeke on the left bank and Waregem on the right bank, an optimal touristic – recreational connection is formed across the Leie. Taking into consideration the places of interest in the neighbourhood, an S-shaped route has been chosen, consisting of a steel bridge and concrete approach ramps.

The main principle for the design of the bridge is, in addition to the usual technical requirements, a spatial integration within the green characteristic landscape. The bridge should ‘disappear’ into the landscape without obstructing the view by protruding, visually dominating support elements. The design does not obtrude but forms, with a sober structure, a harmonious whole with both walks along the Leie. The existing vegetation is also retained to the maximum and restored where possible.

Thanks to the different departments within SBE, switching between structural requirements and architectural design is done in a fast and efficient manner. In order to optimize the shape of the bridge, the bending moment originating from the dead weight is used. This typical bending moment is reversed and used as a shape for the supporting structure, resulting in a dynamic and sleek design and on top of that a minimal use of materials.

Because of the organic form, a parametric geometry model is established during the design phase. By exporting this model to a mathematical & drawing model, different variants can be tested. By testing form, estimated costs, use of materials and technical requirements, the most interesting design is ultimately selected.

Given the redevelopment of the connection between the Seine and Scheldt basins, the size of the river Lys should be raised to 4500 tons in the future. by already placing bank protections near the bridge and approach ramps during this phase, including fair-faced concrete capping beams, only dredging work will have to be carried out at a later stage.

SBE is responsible for the integral design of the new bridge and its surroundings. In concrete terms:

  • Architecture
  • Design bike paths and surroundings
  • Civil engineering  (full engineering design process)
  • Establishment of tender dossier
  • Establishment of environment permit application