Flipper bridge

Do you remember this genetic engineering feat?

Here’s what it’s really all about, courtesy Chuckles:

One of the most vexing aspects of traveling between mainland China and Hong Kong is the car travel: People in the former drive on the right side of the road; people in the latter drive on the left (a vestige of the British empire).

So to quell confusion at the border and, more importantly, to keep cars from smashing into each other, the Dutch firm NL Architects proposed a brilliant, simple solution, the Flipper bridge.

The bridge does exactly what the name suggests: It flips traffic around. The key here is separating the two sides of traffic, using a figure-eight shape. One side of the road dips under the other, funneling cars that were traveling on the left to the right (and vice versa), without forcing them to encounter head-on traffic at an intersection. The bridge makes what [might] be a disorienting switch exquisitely easy.

13 Responses to “Flipper bridge”

  1. microdave August 25, 2012 at 19:25 Permalink

    Surely traffic which enters this crossover in (say) the outside lane, will then find itself on the inside lane on exiting?

  2. James Higham August 25, 2012 at 19:40 Permalink

    Puzzled me too.

  3. dearieme August 25, 2012 at 22:08 Permalink

    Yeah, you need subsequent lane-flippers.

  4. Lord Nazh August 26, 2012 at 01:46 Permalink

    The bridge works just fine (looking at the pics); all the right-side drivers will end up on the left-side of the highway on leaving the bridge (of course the outside lane will be inside but so?)

    The whole point is to fix the English/Other system without an accident, not to fix the inside/outside lane preference.

  5. Steve Hayes August 26, 2012 at 06:27 Permalink

    I wonder if they have something like that on the Namibia/Angola border?

    Some time back in the dim mists of history the border was moved, and I was told (though not able to verify it) that northbound traffic drove on the left for 5 miles / 8 km into Angola, and then switched.

  6. Rossa August 26, 2012 at 08:08 Permalink

    MD No different from our motorways merging like the M6 into the M1 southbound.

  7. James Higham August 26, 2012 at 08:09 Permalink

    I’m sure the thing would resolve itself at each end, with sections of the road early where changing lanes is permitted etc. Seems a reasonable solution.

  8. Lord Nazh August 26, 2012 at 08:14 Permalink

    Why would you need that James? The whole freaking bridge stays the same size the whole trip; you can’t exit the bridge before the end so no need to jump the shark and change lanes anyway… although you could if you wanted to since it seems the lanes actually go … along with the bridge (gasp?)

  9. Lord Nazh August 26, 2012 at 08:16 Permalink

    Ok, let me ask a question…

    What is the problem you guys seem to have with this bridge? That way I won’t keep sitting at my computer and thinking that I’m missing something here or you’re dense :)

  10. SadButMadLad August 26, 2012 at 21:23 Permalink

    You lot are thinking too much about the lanes. You’re thinking that they are UK style lanes not American style lanes.

    In the UK we have overtaking lanes and you are “encouraged” to stay in the left hand lane as much as possible. In America they have the freeways which are called freeways because drivers are free to use any lane. They don’t have a concept of an overtaking lane. Might seem a bit more chaotic, but because US drivers drive with less variation between max and min compared to the UK and everyone moves along a lot more smoothly. In the UK have people driving at 50mph and at 80mph. In the US everyone is going about 50-60mph.

    When I was in the US driving in Florida I noticed that though the motoroway, sorry freeway, was busy there was not as much bunching or hold ups because all lanes were used and everyone was drving about the same speed. None of this having to wait to overtake, just use whatever lane is needed.

    Same should be true on this bridge. The lanes should just keep cars making maximum use of the width, nothing to do with relative speeds.

  11. James Higham August 26, 2012 at 22:04 Permalink

    Right, well that’s that cleared up then.

  12. Lord Nazh August 26, 2012 at 22:47 Permalink

    That helps :) I had no idea why the confusion heh

  13. Rossa August 27, 2012 at 07:44 Permalink

    Driving across Florida to the Gulf Coast in a rental car with only one wing mirror was damn scary at times. Vehicles can overtake or undertake on a Freeway. You have to check both sides before changing lanes. Exits off the Freeway were either side of the direction of travel which was also ‘fun’ to navigate!

    Having a passenger helps as it does in France when trying to overtake and visibility isn’t too great in a right hand drive car.

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