Helix Bridge



The Helix, commonly referred to as Helix Bridge, is the longest pedestrian bridge in Singapore.1 Opened in 2010, the bridge has a distinctive double helix structure modelled on the DNA structure.2 It overlooks Marina Bay, forming a curve next to the vehicular Bayfront Bridge and the Youth Olympic Park, and connecting Marina Centre with the Bayfront area.3

Background and description
Plans for the bridge were announced in March 2006.4 It was intended to link a “necklace” of attractions around the Marina Bay area,5 including a new youth art park (Youth Olympic Park) that was to be constructed at the same time. Singapore issued a tender for a consortium of international architects to design the bridge. Thirty-six firms submitted bids, out of which a team of three firms was selected to oversee the project,6 namely Cox Group, Arup Pte Ltd (both from Australia) and Architects61 from Singapore.7 This team initially considered the idea of a fishnet design for the bridge to portray Singapore’s fishing village roots but discarded it in favour of a double helix structure. This association with the structure of DNA was meant to symbolise “life and continuity, renewal and growth”.8


The 280-metre-long9 Helix Bridge is made of a special duplex stainless steel that equips it with high structural strength while reducing maintenance needs. It is able to support up to 16,000 people at a time. With a height clearance of 8.8 m above water, boats are able to pass through Marina Bay and Marina Channel. The bridge, which comprises a major and minor helix, is about the height of three storeys and the total length of steel tubes that make up the double helix is approximately 2,250 m.10

The Helix is the first in the world to feature the double helix design and cost an estimated S$68 million.11 One advantage of the design was that less steel was used compared with box girders or cable bridges. This saved millions of dollars in construction costs. Construction started in 2007.12

Helix Bridge is located near the Benjamin Sheares Bridge.13 On one side of the bridge are attractions such as the Singapore Flyer and the Esplanade ‒ Theatres on the Bay. Across the bridge are the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort and the ArtScience Museum.14

Between November and December 2008, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) held a public consultation exercise to decide on a name for the bridge. The URA proposed the names “The Double Helix” and “The DNA Bridge”, and “The Helix” was eventually chosen.15


Opening
Helix Bridge was officially opened on 24 April 2010 and was fully operational in July that year.16 URA invited members of the public to participate in the opening by taking pictures of the bridge and posting them on the Marina Bay Facebook page. These photographs were then used to create and recreate a three-dimensional image of the bridge. This activity was part of a series of events collectively known as Marina Bay Invitations to commemorate the opening of many new attractions in the Marina Bay area in 2010.17

Uses
Helix Bridge has both practical and aesthetic purposes. It provides quick access to Marina Bay Sands for pedestrians coming from the Esplanade and the City Hall area. At the same time, a walk along the bridge offers impressive views of the city skyline. Five viewing pods extended from the bridge were built for this purpose. The bridge also provides a good vantage point to watch fireworks and pyrotechnics during special events such as the National Day celebrations.18


In addition, the bridge functions as an outdoor gallery that displays artwork by local youths. Before the bridge opened, an art competition was held for youths to demonstrate how their designs could be incorporated into the bridge.19 Eight winners were chosen and paired with local artists to develop their designs for display.20

Economically, the building of Helix Bridge also heralds the emergence of the Marina Bay area as a waterfront hub. It is part of an 11.7-kilometre promenade route that will eventually link Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, Marina Barrage and the Singapore Sports Hub as well as their respective office and retail space. In 2008, URA announced a further S$35-million investment for the waterfront promenade. The following year, the Marina Bay area alone attracted more than S$22 billion worth of investments.21



Author

Faizah bte Zakaria




References
1. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2010, April 24). Landmark bridges and Youth Olympic Park at Marina Bay officially opened [Press release]. Retrieved 2016, April 8 from URA website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/media-room/news/2010/apr/pr10-46.aspx; Ching, T. Y., & Ng, B. (2008, March 22). Realising the Marina Bay vision. The Business Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Lee, U. W. (2006, March 7). A futuristic bridge with a view. Today, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
3. A bridge like no other. (2007, March 31). The Straits Times, p. 48. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Lee, U. W. (2006, March 7). A futuristic bridge with a view. Today, p. 4; Tan, H. Y. (2006, March 7). New bridge to link Marina Bay attractions. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
5. Ching, T. Y., & Ng, B. (2008, March 22). Realising the Marina Bay visionThe Business Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Tan, H. Y. (2006, March 7). New bridge to link Marina Bay attractionsThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
7. Lee, U. W. (2006, March 7). A futuristic bridge with a viewToday, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Lee, U. W. (2006, March 7). A futuristic bridge with a viewToday, p. 4; Lee, U. W. (2006, March 15). That curvy ‘necklace’ bridge. Today, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Ching, T. Y., & Ng, B. (2008, March 22). Realising the Marina Bay vision. The Business Times, p. 7; Lee U. W. (2006, March 15). That curvy ‘necklace’ bridge. Today, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Lee, M. (2008, November–December). World’s first curved double helix bridge takes shape. Skyline, pp. 8–10. Retrieved from BookSG.
11. Sim, A. (2006, March 7). Government building $68m bridge in Marina Bay area. The Business Times, p. 9. Retreived from NewspaperSG.
12. Tan, H. Y. (2006, March 15). Expect ever-changing views on Marina Bay bridgeThe Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
13. Lee U. W. (2006, March 15). That curvy ‘necklace’ bridgeToday, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
14. Tan H. Y. (2006, March 15). Expect ever-changing views on Marina Bay bridge. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
15. Shakari, U. (2008, November 18). URA seeks feedback on bridge name.  The Business Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Huang, C. (2010, April 24). Marina’s pedestrian bridge named ‘The Helix’, vehicular bridge named ‘Bayfront Bridge’. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva
via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Lee, M. (2008, November–December). World’s first curved double helix bridge takes shape. Skyline, pp. 8–10. . Retrieved from BookSG.
16. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2010, April 24). Landmark bridges and Youth Olympic Park at Marina Bay officially opened [Press release]. Retrieved 2016, April 8 from URA website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/media-room/news/2010/apr/pr10-46.aspx; Tng, S. (2010, July–August). New Marina Bay waterfront promenade opens. Skyline, p. 1. Retrieved from BookSG.
17. Huang, C. (2010, April 24). Marina’s pedestrian bridge named ‘The Helix’, vehicular bridge named ‘Bayfront Bridge’. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva
via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
18. Lee U. W. (2006, March 7). A futuristic bridge with a viewToday, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
19. Tan H. Y. (2006, March 7). New bridge to link Marina Bay attractionsThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
20. Lee U. W. (2006, March 7). A futuristic bridge with a viewToday, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
21. Yap, E. (2009, April 22). Marina Bay sucks in $22b of investmentsThe Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resource
Van Uffelen, C. (2010). Bridge architecture + design. Salenstein: Braun; London: Thames and Hudson.

(Call no.: RART 725.98 UFF)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Footbridges--Singapore
Architecture
Science and technology>>Engineering>>Transportation engineering
Architecture and Landscape>>Architectural Styles
Architecture and recreation--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Architectural structure
Bridges--Singapore
Recreation>>Places of Interest
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