James Joyce Bridge, Dublin

The Angle Ring Company Limited undertook the bend forming of tubular steelwork used in the construction of the James Joyce Bridge in Dublin. The bridge which spans the Liffey between Ellis Quay and Ushers Island, features twin pedestrianised walkways and viewing areas on each side of a central four-lane section carrying road traffic.

Tubes used for the main arches of the bridge, together with other tubes of varying diameters, for handrails, car rails and the lower support rails of the bridge were all cold formed by Angle Ring.

The main arch steelwork was formed on a large hydraulic press (thought to be the largest horizontal open press in the world), to produce complex multi-axis bends as specified for this uniquely designed structure.

The manipulation of three-dimensional points from CAD drawings were used to develop the bend geometry for individual tubes, with specialist tooling also used to maintain the integrity of the tube cross section and smooth form of the bends. Cold forming was selected as the most efficient method of production, being less costly and time consuming than other bending methods.

The main arches were constructed using two thick walled tubes of different sizes being 368mm and 177.8mm diameter with wall thicknesses of 80mm and 60mm respectively. These were supplied by the main contractor Irishenco Construction, a Mowlem Group Company, in straight lengths of four to five metres. Two or three of these were then welded together by Angle Ring to achieve suitable lengths for cold forming. Owing to the three dimensional curvature of this unique bridge, created by international architect / engineer Dr Santiago Calatrava Valls, multi-axis bends were required in each formed length.

The two main parabolic arches of the bridge were constructed by joining the sections of thick walled tubes together with connecting fishplates to create to continuous, tilted, tied arches as the support spans for this unique structure. The final welding fabrication and assembly work was undertaken at the Belfast shipyard of Harland & Wolff, to create a bridge with a span of 40 metres, having an overall width at the centre of 40 metres, reducing to 27 metres at each end.

Finished in gleaming white, the prestigious James Joyce Bridge has proved to be a worthwhile addition to the many attractions of Dublin's fair city.

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