St. Elmo Footbridge

Valletta, Malta
35.902834, 14.521000

In 2010 Transport Malta organised a competition for the design and construction of a footbridge spanning an existing historic gap in St. Elmo breakwater, which partially has protected the entrance to the unique Valletta Grand Harbour since 1909. The gap was left to prevent water stagnation and to allow shorter routes for smaller crafts. Accessibility was possible by means of a two-span steel footbridge, erected in 1906. This footbridge was partly demolished in 1941 during World War II and the breakwater and its lighthouse had remained isolated since then, only accessible by boat. Our winning solution is a transversally-asymmetrical bridge whose main supporting structural element is a single 70-m-span classic arched truss which has similar proportions, in terms of height to span ratio, to those pertaining to the original bridge spans.

role of hbp Responsible for conceptual, structural + detailed design | Project Leader | Construction support
  • owner Transport Malta (formerly Malta Maritime Authority)
  • competition 2010 (winner)
  • design 2011-2012
  • construction 2011 – 2012 (D&B)
  • contractor Vassallo Builders
  • Main span 70 m
  • Efective width 5.1 m
  • relation of the new bridge with the existing abutments (top) and footbridge-observatory concept (bottom)
    ↑ relation of the new bridge with the existing abutments (top) and footbridge-observatory concept (bottom)
    the bridge seen from afar | photos: Mark Wansky (top) + Héctor Beade (bottom)
    ↑ the bridge seen from afar | photos: Mark Wansky (top) + Héctor Beade (bottom)
    fort st. elmo, footbridge, breakwater and lighthouse | photos: Joseph Lanzon
    ↑ fort st. elmo, footbridge, breakwater and lighthouse | photos: Joseph Lanzon
    a classical design for a classical environment | photo: Vernon Harvey
    ↑ a classical design for a classical environment | photo: Vernon Harvey
    elevation view of the footbridge | photo: Samantha Debono
    ↑ elevation view of the footbridge | photo: Samantha Debono
    footbridge, breakwater and lighthouse from the foreshore | photo: Antonio Violi
    ↑ footbridge, breakwater and lighthouse from the foreshore | photo: Antonio Violi
    observatory towards the grand harbor and protection from open sea | photos: Chris Mallia (top) + Héctor Beade (bottom)
    ↑ observatory towards the grand harbor and protection from open sea | photos: Chris Mallia (top) + Héctor Beade (bottom)
    especial-event lighting system | photo: Héctor Beade
    ↑ especial-event lighting system | photo: Héctor Beade
    installation of the bridge atop the abutments from sea using the vessel derricks | photos: Héctor Beade
    ↑ installation of the bridge atop the abutments from sea using the vessel derricks | photos: Héctor Beade
    bases of design of the new footbridge
    ↑ bases of design of the new footbridge
    construction and destruction sequence of the original footbridge
    ↑ construction and destruction sequence of the original footbridge

    At Arenas & Asociados

    At Arup

    At Temha

    At Universidade da Coruña