The Hovenring – the first suspended bicycle roundabout in the world

The Hovenring is a suspended bicycle path roundabout on the border between Eindhoven, Veldhoven and Meerhoven which accounts for its name, which is Dutch for “Ring of the ‘Hovens'”.

The Hovenring - Amsterdam

The Hovenring is officially a roundabout, but in fact it is a circular suspension bridge. The deck has a 72 meters (236 ft) diameter and is suspended from a 70 meters (230 ft) tall central pylon by 24 cables. The entire construction is made of steel.

The suspension bridge had to be closed almost immediately after delivery due to unexpected vibrations in the cables caused by the wind. An investigation of the problem was undertaken during the next several weeks by professors of civil and mechanical engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Delft University of Technology and professor Albert Zasso of the Politecnico di Milano.

It was finally determined that the problem was vortices of wind forming in the lee of the cables, causing far heavier vibrations than expected during design. A solution was found by applying additional dampers on the cables. Unfortunately this caused an extra delay of a month in the opening of the bridge, since the contractor initially mounted the dampers incorrectly.

The Hovenring was first conceived of in 2008, when increased traffic between Eindhoven and Veldhoven was starting to overwhelm the capacity of the roundabout on the crossing of the roads known as Heerbaan in Veldhoven and the Meerenakkerweg (Heistraat).

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