In the future, Zwolle station will be the greenest station in the Netherlands. The design of this unique bridge brings that ambition one step closer. The new bridge will be built very sustainably, there will be plenty of greenery and there is even room for water. The design focuses on the use and experience of residents of Zwolle, visitors and travelers. The power lies in the space 󲣤e passerelle, as an ultimate street of the city. The S-shape of over 127 meters long and 10 meters wide enhances this special experience. Nowhere else in the Netherlands has such a sustainable 'street' been made over the railway. Construction of the first sustainable street over the Zwolle railway will start in Zwolle in 2023.

From idea to design

The design for the unique footbridge over the railway is now ready to be submitted to the Zwolle city council. At the beginning of this year, the council already adopted the so-called 'Passenger Image Quality Plan'. This outlines what the bridge will look like. The sketches that were available at the time were shared with the city and various stakeholders. For example, attention was drawn to accessibility and safety. Reactions from the city led to a more refined design. That is now ready for decision making.

The special footbridge will connect the old city center and the Spoorzone, the renovated area on the other side of the track that is in full development. It is an important driver for the development of the Spoorzone. The passerelle actually brings two worlds together. The 19th century city with canals, a park-like Station Square and monumental trees. And the south side of the station, where a new district is developing with businesses, education, culture and in the future also more homes. With this new connection, visitors can move from one side of the city center to the other without a public transport card. In the future, the railway will no longer be a barrier, but an invitation to discover the center of Zwolle.

Trees, shrubs and water

The walkway has the appearance of a raised street with lots of greenery such as trees, shrubs and water. This also makes it a pleasant place to stay. The base of the bridge is wood. Only concrete is used for the foundation. This gives the passerelle a sustainable warm and friendly appearance.

Good for people and the environment

The bridge itself also becomes sustainable by choosing sustainable materials such as wood. And that makes the design extra unique. In Scandinavian countries such as Germany and Austria, for example, a lot is already built with wood. And now also in Zwolle. Alderman Anker: “So this bridge will not only have a sustainable appearance. The wood ensures that the bridge itself is also extremely durable. By choosing wood as a building material, this bridge produces much less CO2 emissions than if we were to use another material such as concrete, which releases CO2 during its production.”

Water and art

Water will also have an important place on the passerelle. Not only because it should nourish the plants, but also as an experience. Visitors can actually see and touch the water. Excess rainwater, for example, partially drains visibly through a special gutter. There will also be a special water artwork at the highest point of the bridge. The idea is to ask artists to turn 'the source' needed to water the plants into a special object that enhances the experience of the passerelle.

Cross the road quickly or just relax

A nice detail is that history shows that 100 years ago in the same place as now, there was also a 'passerelle'. “The new bridge offers something unique. It will be a raised street”, explains Alderman Anker enthusiastically. “The walker will soon be able to cross this bridge via different paths. If you are in a hurry, take the fast route to walk to your bus or your workplace. But if you have more time or want to meet someone, there are also nice places where you can sit or look out over the railway. Of course, we also take (social) safety into account. The bridge will also be open and well-arranged and there will be good lighting for the evening and night. Just like a real street.”

National government contributes

A sustainable bridge was a requirement for the municipality of Zwolle and ProRail. ProRail and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management are making a subsidy available. This aims to realize climate neutral and circular infrastructure.
The passerelle is also made possible thanks to money from the RegioDeal. This is a contribution from the government to stimulate broad prosperity in the region.

design team

A design team with different expertise has worked on the bridge. The design team consisted of employees from the municipality of Zwolle, ProRail, architectural firm Karres en Brands, engineering firm instead of Delft and Miebach, an engineering firm from Germany specialized in timber construction.

Next steps

If the council has approved the design for the footbridge over the railway, the tender for the construction will follow. The construction above the track and the stairs will be put out to tender by ProRail. The municipality is responsible for the tender for the layout of the public space on the bridge. That is, the greenery, the pavement and the benches.

The plan is that the building next to the station building will be demolished in December 2022. This is because the steps of the bridge will soon be built at this location (on the north side of the station). Construction of the passerelle can then start in 2023. More information about the footbridge over the railway www.zwolle.nl/passerelle

Read also: Directly with the sprinter from Leeuwarden to Zwolle

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