Glass walkway of the Ponte della Costituzione bridge that crosses Venice’s Grand Canal to be completely replaced with stone – because too many people slip over on it
- The bridge was designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava
- It links Venice’s railway station with the Piazzale Roma car, bus and ferry terminal
- The number of falls has led to £420k being allocated to replace the glass
The glass floor of Venice’s Ponte della Costituzione bridge across the Grand Canal is to be replaced with stone – because too many pedestrians are slipping over on it.
The 300ft-long multi-million-pound bridge – Constitution Bridge in English – was designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2008.
It was a striking addition to the city’s architecture, linking Venice’s railway station with the car, bus and ferry terminal of Piazzale Roma – but it has been dogged by controversy.
The glass floor of Venice’s Ponte della Costituzione bridge across the Grand Canal is to be replaced with stone – because too many pedestrians are slipping over on it
From the start, disability associations lamented a lack of wheelchair access, so a pod-style cabin with lift access was installed at a cost of around 1.5million euros (£1.26million/$1.7million). But this was dismantled following complaints that it was too slow and too hot in the summer.
The issue of people slipping over on the bridge’s distinctive glass floor has also been an ongoing one, with multiple tactics deployed to combat it, including resin patches and nonslip stickers, trachyte stone laid along the middle of the walkway and signs warning visitors about a possible loss of traction.
But the number of falls has led the city to allocate 500,000 euros (£420,000/$565,000) to completely replace the glass with trachyte stone, according to The New York Times.
The issue of people slipping over on the bridge’s distinctive glass floor has been an ongoing one, with multiple tactics deployed to combat it, including resin patches and nonslip stickers, trachyte stone laid along the middle of the walkway and signs warning visitors about a possible loss of traction
‘People hurt themselves, and they sue the administration,’ Francesca Zaccariotto, Venice’s public works official, told the newspaper. ‘We have to intervene.
‘We can’t always do poetry. We must give security.’
Retired port worker Angelo Xalle, 71, told the paper: ‘That is not a bridge. It’s a trap.’
A spokesperson for Santiago Calatrava said: ‘Ponte della Costituzione has been highly praised by the city of Venice and its users since opening in 2008, becoming one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.
‘The original glass paving installed on the bridge consisted of an anti-slippery upper surface that complied with all local regulations and was tested and considered suitable by all control departments of the administration.
‘In the daily use of the bridge, the inadequate use of certain heavy elements or even acts of vandalism have led to the breaking of some glass panes of the original flooring, which unfortunately were later replaced with inadequate glass.
‘In the current situation, our office supports the Municipality’s substitution of glass panes for trachyte stone paving slabs, consistent with the bridge design and the surrounding cityscape to maintain its beauty and functionality.’
Mr Calatrava is one of the world’s most celebrated architects.
He designed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York, the Peace Bridge in Calgary, the Margaret McDermott Bridges in Dallas and the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin.