Global climate change and urbanization bring new challenges. More and more rivers that cross the Netherlands show peaks in their water levels and the rising water level increases risk of flooding. To rearrange the floodplains and make room for the amount of water, the national ‘Room for the River’ project has been started, which also includes the ‘Room for the Waal’ project. The Zalige Bridge is part of this program and symbolizes the new awareness that is necessary in times of climate change.
The bridge connects the island of Veur-Lent with the northern bank of the Waal after the dyke relocation was completed. The 200-metre-long connection is designed as part of the path structure in the floodplain – a bridge without a starting and ending point. At high water, part of the bridge disappears under water and the bank on the other side can only be reached via stepping stones. At times of low water, the function and meaning of these elements changes and the blocks form seating elements for the passing cyclists and walkers. This experience makes the dynamics of the river visible and perceptible and reflects the direct consequences of the rising water levels on the environment. At the same time, the bridge is part of the solution to this problem. This gives the Zalige bridge a hybrid form: the bridge stands above nature, but at the same time it is part of nature and the environment.