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Three Countries Bridge
The Three Countries Bridge
|Locale|| Huningue, France /|
near Basel (Basle), Switzerland
|Total length||248 metres (814 ft)|
|Width||5.5 metres (18 ft)|
|Height||24.75 metres (81.2 ft)|
|Longest span||229.4 metres (753 ft)|
|Clearance above||7.8 metres (26 ft)|
|Engineering design by||Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner|
|Construction cost||€10,000,000 (approximate)|
|Inaugurated||30 June 2007|
|Daily traffic||Cyclists and pedestrians|
The Three Countries Bridge (German: Dreiländerbrücke, French: La passerelle des Trois Pays) is an arch bridge which crosses the Rhine between the commune of Huningue (France) and Weil am Rhein (Germany), within the Basel (Switzerland) metropolitan area. It is the world's longest single-span bridge dedicated exclusively to carrying pedestrians and cyclists. Its overall length is 248 metres (813 ft 8 in) and its main span is 229.4 metres (752 ft 7 in).
An arch bridge is a bridge with abutments at each end shaped as a curved arch. Arch bridges work by transferring the weight of the bridge and its loads partially into a horizontal thrust restrained by the abutments at either side. A viaduct may be made from a series of arches, although other more economical structures are typically used today.
The Rhine is one of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in a mostly northerly direction through Germany and the Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea.
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain. The United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered. The communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France.
Its name comes from the bridge's location between France, Germany and Switzerland (which is about 200 metres (660 ft) distant). It was designed by the Franco-Austrian architect Dietmar Feichtinger.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.
Dietmar Feichtinger is an Austrian architect established since 1989 in Paris.
The first crossing at this place was built for Huningue Castle and was destroyed by French troops in 1797. The Three Countries Bridge is located at the exact spot where, on 20 October 1944, the Huningue pontoon bridge was destroyed by Allied incendiary bombs. From then until the opening of Palmrainbrücke for road vehicles in 1979, the German federal highway number 532 ended at this point with a car ferry crossing. So as not to block the view from Place Abbatucci (Huningue central square) along the Rue de France and across the river to Weil-am-Rhein Hauptsrasse on the opposite side (and vice versa); the bridge is built just north of the line of these roads.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The bridge is an arch bridge with a centre lane, and at 229 metres (751 ft) is the world's longest span pedestrian bridge. Its total length is 248 metres (814 ft) with no vehicle access ramps. The arch rise measures only 20 metres (66 ft), and the highest point is about 25 metres (82 ft) above the water, with the bridge deck about 14 metres (46 ft) below the arch crown. Seen in cross-section, the supporting structure is asymmetric. On the up-river side it is a hexagonal cross-section of sheet steel, and downstream are two others; the first is more inclined to the inside and the latter two are bearing the brunt of the load. The building was designed by architect Dietmar Feichtinger, in collaboration with the Büro LAP Leonhardt Andra & Partner (Berlin / Stuttgart).
The construction of the bridge required 1,012 tonnes (996 long tons; 1,116 short tons) of steel, 1,798 cubic metres (63,500 cu ft) of concrete, and 805 metres (2,641 ft) of cables of 30 and 60 centimetres (12 and 24 in) in diameter. The construction cost was nine million euros, which were funded by grants from the European Union, the State of Baden-Württemberg, the Haut-Rhin département, and the two neighbouring communities.
The bridge was assembled nearby in Huningue, then transported on 26 November 2006 to its current site on the Rhine. The bridge opened to the public on 30 March 2007, and was officially inaugurated on the night of 30 June − 1 July 2007.
In 2008 it was awarded the German Bridge Construction Prize (Deutscher Brückenbaupreis).
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Weil am Rhein is a German town and commune. It is on the east bank of the River Rhine, and close to the point at which the Swiss, French and German borders meet. It is the most southwesterly town in Germany and a suburb of the Swiss city Basel. Weil am Rhein is part of the "trinationale Agglomeration Basel" with about 830,000 inhabitants.
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