Thomas Heatherwick’s Rolling Bridge

A model of the pedestrian bridge that spans a part of the Grand Union Canal in Paddington, London.

It won the designer, Thomas Heatherwick, the British Designer of the Year Award in 2006.

The original is hydraulically powered and curls to form an octagon; the model is in six sections forming a hexagon when folded.

Each section is hinged at the walkway level, where an electric motor drives a screw jack on either side of the walkway via bevel gearing, which fold the handrails between each section.

The electrical circuit incorporates raise and lower microswitches at each section to automatically terminate the folding and unfolding actions, diodes are also built in to prevent current feedback across each section.


Hello, I’m from Colombia and your experiment really enchanted me. The truth is that I’ve been looking for that kind of experiment for so long because I have a problem. In my school we are going to have a “science week” and I choose a kind of bridge with a similar idea but I have problems constructing it — I don’t know how. Could you to tell me please how you made your bridge? I would thank you all my life. Thanks bro!

The timing of your message could not have been better! Alan has just completed an in-depth article about this model for our website — please click on the link above to read it.

What is the live weight this bridge can withstand? Is it possible to take a 40 ton vehicle over this bridge?

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