Amsterdam 3D bridge difficult to access for elderly and people with disabilites
A bridge that was constructed using a 3D printer was opened on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam in the middle of July. It is the world’s first 3D-printed bridge made of steel, but stepping onto the bridge can be dangerous for the elderly and people with disabilities.
On one side of the sculpted piece, two large steps marked with yellow paint lead up to the bridge. Without a ramp or railing, accessing the bridge is difficult, or impossible, for anyone in a wheelchair or who otherwise has trouble walking.
It regularly happens that someone requires assistance stepping off of the bridge, according to an employee of a nearby store. “Everyone who sees that happen will help, but in the morning there is nobody”, she said to Het Parool.
The bridge can be a menace not only for people with disabilities, but also for intoxicated individuals. “Tourists run around drunk here. You can figure out for yourself what happens then”, Fabiana Jonkers said who has her atelier nearby.
“We waited a long time for the bridge”, a nearby resident said. “The bridge is a cool idea from a marketing perspective but the execution is questionable. It is dangerous now.”
The bridge, designed by Joris Laarman, was opened on July 15 by Queen Máxima. It weighs around six tons and will remain on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal for two years. The design of the bridge was shown during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in 2018 where it won the Dutch Design award and also an audience award.
Originally, the plan was to build a small ramp to make the bridge wheelchair accessible, “but that is taking longer than expected”, a spokesperson of the city district said.
“In the meantime, we tried to make the situation apparent with yellow paint and a sign, and hope that was enough”, the spokesperson said.