Volunteers building ice bridge in Finland

While temporary roads over frozen lakes often serve actual transportation needs in Finland, an ice bridge is being built as an architectural endeavour combining Finnish and other EU expertise and voluntarism. Local media reported on Sunday that the bridge, under construction in Juuka, northeastern Finland, was the world's largest bridge made of ice. The current temperature of minus 30 degrees Celcius has actually hampered the project rather than helped it, but the bridge is to be ready in mid-February. The labor force comprises 170 volunteers. Besides locals, there are participants from technically oriented universities, Aalto University of Helsinki. University of Eindhoven (Holland), University of Gent (Belgium) and University of Bath (UK). The bridge will be 10 meters high and its span will be 35 meters. The bridge is to be a copy of a bridge the famed engineer and scientist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) designed for Istanbul (Constantinopole) in 1502. The construction material is a mixture of water and pulp, from the nearby Enocell plant. Locals told national broadcaster Yle that pulp is stronger for the purpose than sawdust used earlier. Last year the team constructed a 21-meter-high church type of building. The casting of the bridge has begun. The mold is a textile construction, holding its form with the help of directional air pressue, controlled by computers. The bridge will be the main attraction in a winter adventure park that will boast also a 300-meter frozen water fall. The location is a former open mining site. With the arrival of spring temperatures, ice and snow constructions in Finland often do not survive longer than until early April.

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