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Official opening of DNA-inspired Helix bridge

Officially named “The Helix”, the world’s first curved double-helix bridge was unveiled to a stunning display of music and fireworks.

The 280m long pedestrian bridge is part of the 3.5km continuous waterfront promenade around Singapore’s Marina Bay, providing pedestrians with a direct connection between Marina Centre, the waterfront area and Marina Bay Sands integrated resort is located.

The design is the result of a successful collaboration between Arup, Australian architects Cox Group and Singapore-based architects 61. The team was appointed in March 2006 by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore after emerging as the winner from a field of 36 bids.

The DNA inspiration behind the double-helix bridge is a symbol of continuity, renewal and everlasting abundance – reflecting Singapore’s aspirations for Marina Bay.

The Helix comprises two spiraling steel members held together by a series of delicate connecting rods to form a rigid tubular structure. Building on Arup’s focus on sustainable design, the bridge uses five times less steel than a conventional box girder bridge.

A series of multi-coloured lights have been installed in the strands of the helix. Arup’s lighting designers selected the latest LED technology for longevity, recyclability and for the flexibility of being able to provide 16m dynamic colours.

“Ten years ago, this sort of structure would be impossible to conceive,” said Arup design leader Tristram Carfrae. “Using Arup’s own 3D developed software to explore many possible solutions, a method of successfully linking the two helices was found. The entire concept was developed in 3D in a virtual, digital environment.”

Running parallel to The Helix is a straight, six-lane vehicular bridge. This provides motorists direct access to the Bayfront area including new developments such as Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

Arup’s services for the bridge included structural engineering, civil engineering, maritime engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering and lighting design.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Congratulations to the designers and constructors on an inspiring desgn in such an historic location. Singapore, the UDA, the Marina Bay relocation and revitalised CBD goes from strength to strength.
    Jeremy Hall, Kolkata

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  • Beautiful curves. Well done.

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