One of Venice's Most Famous Bridges Will Undergo a Major Transformation After It Was Deemed Dangerous

The bridge, by noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, will be modified because 'people hurt themselves' while crossing.

With more than 390 overpasses connecting the small islands that make up Venice, bridges are some of the most prominent landmarks in the Floating City. But unfortunately, the functionality of one of Venice's most famous bridges, Ponte della Costituzione, is slipping.

Conceived by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the 308-foot, glass-and-steel structure over the Grand Canal will undergo a major redesign due to the high number of pedestrian falls.

The city of Venice is looking to replace the glass-tiled pavement of the bridge with trachyte stone to prevent more people from slipping and suffering injuries, according to The New York Times.

"People hurt themselves, and they sue the administration," Francesca Zaccariotto, a public official, told the newspaper. "We have to intervene."

The repairs will cost about half a million euros. However, the plan still needs to be approved by the city's architectural authorities. Structural tests will also need to be performed to ensure that the glass footbridge can support the extra load from the new stone pavement.

The Constitution Bridge of the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava
Marco Piraccini/Archivio Marco Piraccini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Apparently, Calatrava himself is on board with the idea.

"Given the tradition of beautiful stone patterns already present in your beautiful city (such as those on the Piazza San Marco and within the Basilica di San Marco), the idea of giving such a transformation also an artistic touch is something that we would like to propose for this transformation," Calatrava's studio wrote to the municipality in a letter obtained by Dezeen.

The studio claims that the original bridge was made with an anti-slippery surface, but because of "acts of vandalism," some of the original materials "had subsequently been replaced with other inappropriate glass panels."

"In the current situation, our office supports the Municipality's substitution of glass panes for trachyte stone paving slabs, consistent with the bridge design and the surrounding cityscape to maintain its beauty and functionality," said studio Calatrava in a statement to Travel + Leisure.

Ponte della Costituzione, which opened in 2008, was the first bridge to cross the Grand Canal in 75 years and one of only four to be built in the Floating City since the 16th century. In 2014, the Venice authorities sued the famed architect after several glass panels that were supposed to last 20 years shattered after four.

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