original publication material - courtesy of Foster + Partners
Årstabroarna ( English: The Årsta bridges) are two parallel railway viaducts in central Stockholm, Sweden. Passing over the watercourse of Årstaviken and the islets Årsta holmar, they connect the major island Sí¶dermalm to the southern mainland district Årsta.
Eastern Årsta Bridge
The eastern bridge, the older of the two and still often referred to as Årstabron ("The Årsta Bridge"), is still in operation almost 80 years after its inauguration in 1929. When projected in the early 1920s, an agreement between the state and the city stipulated the arterial railway passing through the city had to be made independent of the sea route passing beneath it. It was therefore decided that the railway should be relocated to a bridge passing over Årsta holmar, with a horizontal clearance of 26 metres ensured by a bascule bridge over the northern passage, and a truss arch bridge (The truss is the old one) over the southern passage offering a span of 100 metres. In front of a reworked agreement in 1925, the city, intending to add an iron roadway passing above the present railway, required the bridge to be reinforced accordingly, and additionally it was decided the planned bascule bridge should be replaced by a lift bridge. The plans were carried through and the 753 metres long bridge opened in 1929. The bridge, on its completion the longest bridge in Sweden, was designed be the architect Cyrillus Johansson (1884–1959) and the engineers Ernst Nilsson (1874–1946) and Salomon Kasarnowsky (1887–1960). It has often been resembled to a classical Roman aqueduct, and is today declared a historical landmark. The possibility to add a traffic route atop the bridge were discussed at several different occasions during the remaining of the 20th century, the most elaborated plans, in 1960, being to have a motorway, called Tantoleden, connect Ringvägen and Årsta by building a new bridge on the west side of the old.
Western Årsta Bridge
A western bridge, designed by Sir Norman Foster (1935-), 833 metres long and 19,5 metres wide, was finally inaugurated in 2005. Along with the new bridge a new commuter train station, Årstaberg, was created south of the bridges. Twice the width of the old, thus permitting an elevated pathway next to the railway, the pillars of the new bridge are not only much slender, but also reduced to ten, less than half of the old. Preceded by two decades of fiery debate, as Foster had the bridge painted in falu red, a traditional deep red colour, the bridge was nicked falukorven by its slanderers.