June 25, 2009
Jerusalem holds a $500,000 extravaganza to inaugurate the Chords Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Strings, at the main entrance to the city. Its designer, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, has built more than 40 bridges around the world, including a pedestrian bridge in Petah Tikva, but says the Bridge of Strings is his favorite.
The 1,180-foot-long rail bridge beautifies an area previously known for the city’s Central Bus Station. The side-spar cable-stayed span features a central spire with a light color meant to blend with the golden-white color of Jerusalem stone. Stretching down from the 384-foot spire in a parabolic shape are 66 white steel cables, meant to resemble harp strings. The structure includes a glass-sided pedestrian walkway that offers a panoramic view of Jerusalem on its route from Kiryat Moshe to the bus station. The bridge begins serving the light-rail system in August 2011.
Some critics dislike the ultramodern addition to a city known for biblical and Ottoman architecture. Others are unhappy that the bridge’s cost has tripled since construction started in 2005 to 246 million shekels (around $70 million).