From Stone to Gold

Stikkord: Areal og transport, arealbruk, gang- og sykkelveier, Drammen

The traffic is pounding ten metres above the ground in four lanes between Oslo and southern Norway. The motorway bridge in Drammen is no climate friend. In spite of this, the area is used to create a better and more activating urban environment.

The traffic is pounding ten metres above the ground in four lanes between Oslo and southern Norway. The motorway bridge in Drammen is no climate friend. In spite of this, the area is used to create a better and more activating urban environment.

For many years the motorway bridge in Drammen was a symbol of everything that was wrong in Drammen – a big concrete construction brutally cutting through the city.

When the discussion about whether or not to expand the motorway bridge from two to four lanes concluded with the latter, it was also equally important to reduce the bridge’s brutal expression.

Norway’s Best Outdoor Area

The first action taken was to give the bridge new support columns and covering plus improved noise barriers. Drammen Municipality and The Norwegian Public Roads Administration also established a collaboration to improve the areas under the motorway bridge.

The areas beneath and aside the bridge on the Strømsø side of the river, have been designed to follow the bridge’s shape but softened with billowing elements, art and vegetation.

This park is an activity park but it also creates a walking connection between the river and the main street, «Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsons gate, » and areas behind.

«Bruparken» (The Bridge Park) won the «Norway’s best outdoor area» competition in 2008. The jury’s statement included that «One of the best qualities in this park is that this previously negatively charged area has been transformed into a modern, active and beautiful place.»

Popular

The result became a popular park area, and articles have been published in both a technical magazine «Kommunal Teknikk» and the extreme sports magazine «Fri Flyt». This park contains several different elements: a water fountain, a climbing bar, a field hockey pitch, art installations, seating areas, and walking and cycling paths.

Still, it is the skateboard park that has turned out to be the most popular facility. Eirin Aarseth, one of Norway’s best female skaters, has designed this concrete skateboard park. The park contains the first concrete skate bowl in Norway. On a good day you can find around 50 skaters in the park.

Board party

The new skateboard park inspired two local skaters to organise «Fjølfæst» (Board Party) in Drammen with The Bridge Park as a gathering point. The festival was held in June in 2008, and was, during the festivals three days, visited by approximately 1500 to 2000 skaters and other visitors. The organisers will repeat the success in 2009.

The Bridge Park has not in itself cut greenhouse gas emissions, which is the City of the Future’s goal. However, the park can state an example of how areas that seem gloomy and useless, with effort and good planning can contribute to a better and more activating urban environment.