The Constitution Bridge (Ponte della Costituzione) is the fourth bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava, and was moved into place in 2007 (connecting Stazione di Santa Lucia to Piazzale Roma), amid protest by politicians and the general public. The bridge was installed in 2008 and opened to the public on the night of September 11, 2008.The bridge was known as Quarto Ponte sul Canal Grande before the official name was adopted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Italian constitution in 2008. Tourists and locals in Venice now refer often to it as the Calatrava Bridge (Ponte di Calatrava a Venezia).
The bridge has received heated criticism and seen inauguration delays and walk-outs, which originated from three main grievances: the lack of wheelchair access, lack of necessity and its modernist-minimalist style being incompatible with Venice's decorative medieval architecture.
Ponte di Calatrava has many steps embedded in its relatively steep pavement, which means elderly people have difficulty climbing it and wheelchair users are excluded from crossing. Due to lasting protests, a mobility lift system resembling cocoons will be eventually installed in 2010, incurring large costs, since it was not part of the original design. The official budget for the project was €6.7 million, but actual costs have escalated significantly.
The placement of a new bridge a mere stone-throw from the existing Ponte degli Scalzi bridge has also proven controversial, since the distances between Scalzi and Rialto Bridges or between the Rialto and Ponte dell'Accademia bridges are severalfold longer, and with no other way to cross the canal besides the waterbus (vaporetto), or commuter gondola (traghetto). There is also no permanent connection between Venice and the well-populated Giudecca island, although a tunnel has been proposed at not much greater cost than a bridge, promising better access for tourists and residents.
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|Geographical coordinates||45.4389000, 12.3194000|
|Address||30125 Venice, Sestiere San Polo 125|
|Construction dates||2002 - 2008|