The David Oluwale Bridge in Leeds is a recently opened pedestrian and cycle bridge that crosses the city’s River Aire, providing a much-needed traffic-free connection from the city centre to Aire Park. Named in honour of the Nigerian-British citizen David Oluwale, who tragically drowned in the river in 1969 in a racially motivated incident, the bridge is symbolic of the city’s commitment to equality and the rich diversity that Leeds is proud to celebrate.
The project is a result of a joint venture between Mott MacDonald and BAM Nuttall on behalf of Leeds City Council. The original brief outlined the need for an aesthetically pleasing structure that provided safe access for all, day and night, without affecting the delicate local environment of the river.
Designers at Mott MacDonald worked closely with local accessibility groups and an ecology consultant to develop a solution that provided functional illumination while mitigating light spill into the river. The final design, which included the bridge and inclined ramps on either side, required a discreet lighting solution that offered a new user experience at night while disappearing during the day. A continuous, dual-sided handrail was also required along the length of the structure as part of the inclusive users access strategy.