Rival designs were unveiled today (23 February, 2014) for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge in London that would stretch over the Thames between Nine Elms and Pimlico.

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
One of the competing designs for a prospective pedestrian and cycle bridge between Nine Elms and Pimlico (Wandsworth Council)

74 professional teams from around the world have entered the contest run by Wandsworth Council.

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
This design entrant proposes an arch bridge over the Thames (Wandsworth Council)

At this stage the bridge designs remain anonymous to ensure new talent can compete on a level playing field with established practices.

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
This wide-bridge design would include a public area for people to meet up on the centre of the bridge (Wandsworth Council)

The first stage design ideas are being published online and showcased to communities in Nine Elms and Pimlico at local exhibitions.

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
This rain drop-shaped entrant proposes a constantly cascading waterfall on the sides of the bridge (Wandsworth Council)

Wandsworth Council is asking Londoners to have their say and comments will be fed into the competition's jury panel which includes Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia, Lambeth councillor Joanne Simpson, architect Graham Stirk, engineer Henry Bardsley and CABE chair Pam Alexander.

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
This design entrant proposes a wide wavy roof, similar to the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain (Wandsworth Council)

Leader of Wandsworth Council and jury panel member, Ravi Govindia, said, "To succeed this bridge must be two things at once. It must be a beautiful piece of architecture and a valuable new transport link. This is what our growing city needs and thanks to this competition we now have more than 70 different approaches to consider".

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
This design entrant is spruced up with two towers of trees at either end (Wandsworth Council)

A study by Transport for London in December 2013 found high potential demand for the crossing, citing the relative lack of other bridges in the area compared to central London and the current redevelopment of Vauxhall, Battersea and Nine Elms.

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
The strikingly minimalist design is composed of a series of vertical metal columns (Wandsworth Council)

The TfL report estimated that a tied arch or cable-stayed bridge on the site would cost around £40m. It has the approval of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Nine Elms Pimlico bridge
This design entrant would have a main cycle way through the middle and pedestrian ramps on either side that lead up to an observation deck (Wandsworth Council)

Each design proposal is now undergoing a detailed technical assessment. A shortlist of four teams will be picked in March 2015 to go through to the next stage and develop more detailed plans.