Gigantic footbridge for the disabled is dubbed ‘Donkey Kong obstacle’ as row breaks out over its fitness for purpose
A new footbridge for the disabled has become the talk of the town after being dubbed an ‘architectural monster’ and likened to a ‘waterpark slide’.
Opened on the 29th April, the gigantic 126-metre-long yellow-green labyrinthine structure over the busy A1 motorway in Wola Krzysztoporska, is made up of six zig-zagging ramps with sharp 180 degree bends.
Originally intended to replace an old walkway with stairs to make it easier for disabled people to use, the bridge has now becoming a point of controversy, with opinions divided on whether it’s fit for purpose.
Local news portal Piotrków Trybunalski Nasze Miasto was quick to slam the structure calling it “an obstacle course for the disabled, at the least a kind of fitness path”, whilst Moto.pl christened it an “architectural monster which in shape and colour resembles a waterpark slide”, still another likened it to the obstacles in the computer game Donkey Kong.
A local mum calling into Radio Łódź to talk about her daughter’s experiences of being in a wheelchair complained that the design was impractical and that it would be very difficult for people in wheelchairs to independently make the crossing using their own strength, or even the able bodied helping to push those on a 30kg wheelchair due to the length of the walkway.
Defending the bridge, Maciej Zalewski from the General Directorate for National Roads and Highways in Łódż said: “The walkway satisfies all hitherto required norms and is fully adapted to the needs of disabled people.
The approach to the crossing cannot be steep, which is what results in its length.”
He added: “The walkway is intended for all users, both full bodied and those with mobility problems, even for those who move by wheelchair alone, but the ramps are useful for those who want to transport a bike over the road as well as mothers with children in a pram.”
Andrzej Niewieczerzał, president of the Crossing Borders Foundation which supports the needs of the disabled and users of electric wheelchairs told Radio Łódź: “In my opinion it is a much better solution than a lift, which is usually quite isolated and wheelchair users often have to arrange with an operator before they can use it and wait a few hours.
“Looking at the photos of the walkway the angle of the slope seems adequate, however the ramps seem too long and there should be more resting points.
“If somebody has less strength in their hands, they won’t be able to stay upright and on the upward and downwards sections and they might run out of strength to pull on the brakes.”
Meanwhile, internet user Sławek, said: “To all those who despise the design, I propose you get on a wheelchair and try to get up those steps.
“I think that’s why they have a serpentine for the disabled. Before you make fun of something, think and thank your luck that you don’t have to use a wheelchair to get around.”