Norway Just Built a 99-Step Bridge Over Their Most Iconic Waterfall
On Friday, August 21st, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration opened a new Norwegian Scenic Routes attraction with a staircase bridge over the Vøringsfossen waterfall in the Hardangerfjord region.
Vøringsfossen is perhaps the best-known waterfall in Norway, with vast quantities of water plunging 182 metres (597 ft) down from the Hardangervidda plateau to the Måbødalen valley. The waterfall and the dramatic transition between fjord and mountain plateau make for a majestic impression.
The bridge is designed by architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk, and the construction represents a long tradition of exploring the fields between architecture, technology, infrastructure and nature.
“Several conditions have influenced the shape of the bridge. The construction needs to safe and solid; the bridge needs to connect with the old, historic road and the landscape; and of course emphasize the views and experiences” says Hølmebakk. The bridge has a range of 47 metres (154 ft) and has 99 steps.
The development of the tourist icon Vøringsfossen has happened step by step over several years to make sure that visitors and the local tourism industry can enjoy the project as it is being finished. The first leg of the project was finished in 2018 and included viewpoints, paths, parking lot and service facilities near the Fossli Hotel.
By 2021, there will be new viewpoints and paths added.
The step bridge at Vøringsfossen goes across the river Bjoreio, connecting the viewpoints and paths at Fossatromma and Fossli. The bridge has 99 steps and a span of 47 metres (154 ft). The height difference between the two sides of the gorge is 16 metres (52 ft).
The step bridge consists of two tripods founded on rock that carry the centre span. The structure is made up of seven parts, of which five make up the flight of steps and the final two serve as supports. The seven bridge components have been hoisted in place by a crane and assembled on site. The entire step bridge is built in steel and secured with long rock bolts drilled into the rock.
The bridge is located only a few tens of metres south of where the waterfall cascades into Måbødalen, and with a height of 50 metres (164 ft) above the rapids, the bridge is also a dizzying viewpoint.