To the Bat-Bridge! Dutch bike path features biobased construction, bat-friendly design


In the Netherlands, a new, ecofriendly bike and pedestrian bridge is under construction using renewable material and has the unlikely design feature of being friendly to bats. 

Dubbed Blauwe Loper—which translates to Blue Carpet—the $6.5-million bridge is 800 meters long and connects the Dutch town of Winschoten with Blauwestad park and recreational area. It is being constructed using the tropical wood Gabonese azobé. 

The bridge also features special lighting to prevent nocturnal creatures from getting lost.  “Bats have been shown to use infrastructure features, such as bridges, as guide points from one site to another, and while they navigate by echo location, they are also very sensitive to bright lights, which can disorient them,” Fleur Gräper, Groningen regional deputy, tells Timber Trades Journal. “So special lighting has been installed on the Blauwe Loper with a different color to standard street illumination and to cast a different light and shadows on the bridge so bats are not dazzled and confused.”

The bridge is expected to open next month.