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Venice bridge plans provoke uproar

Venetian planners and conservationists have slammed plans to replace the Pont dell’Accademia, one of the four bridges across the city’s Grand Canal

Provisional plans drawn up by architects Schiavina of Bologna feature a giant glass and steel bridge across the canal.

Built in the 1930s as a temporary structure to connect the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti and the Accademia Gallery and reconstructed in the 1980s the Ponte del Accademia spans what is considered one of the most picturesque corners of Venice.

The city authorities have been accused of rushing to replace the current bridge - effectively a 30 year-old replica - without proper public consultation.

Supporters of the new plans claim that the current wooden bridge is a fire hazard, has no access for disabled people and is too costly to maintain.

Italia Nostra spokeswoman Lidia Fersouch said the current bridge “has dignity”.

Critics of the new plan have also pointed to the furore surrounding Venice’s last major bridge project – the Calatrava Bridge – as a reason to halt any new construction project until a full public consultation has been carried out.

Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the 94-metre structure which connects Venice train station with a car, bus and ferry terminal across the Grand Canal caused uproar after the costs of the project soared.

A decision on the Pont dell’Accademia is expected next month.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Anyone remember the ideas competition to replace this bridge, way back? Sure, came to nothing.

    Ah, but then at the other end of the canal, a new modern up to date and shiny bridge was planned - connecting the city's two transport interchanges which are very close ... but separated by the Grand Canal. This would have wonderful access for disabled people - and in a sense 83% of the heavy traffic would be disabled, as they would be dragging heavy suitcases...

    Pity in the end they got someone to put up a snazzy structure (even if usually with some kind of scaffolding hanging round it, as when I last saw it in May), but one over which every single weary tourist has to struggle to lift and carry every single case.

    It's just an academic issue really, of course.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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