Pedestrian bridge in San Diego will stand out

The Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge under construction in San Diego is an elegant new crossing to Petco Park, the downtown home of the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team. Designed by Safdie Rabines Architects and design engineered by T.Y. Lin International, the $24 million bridge design was a recent finalist in Bentley’s Be Inspired awards for Innovation in Bridges. Plans were developed for this project using Bentley’s MicroStation.

With the construction of Petco Park, which opened in 2004, the need arose for additional safe pedestrian access to the park. The project entailed a grade-separated pedestrian crossing of six railroad tracks and Harbor Drive, a four-lane major arterial road. The high visibility and premier location of this crossing called for a signature bridge design to serve as a southern gateway to downtown San Diego and as a point of civic pride. The bridge alignment is designed to connect the public right-of-way at each landing, providing a key segment of a continuous promenade from Balboa Park to San Diego Bay (the Park-to-Bay Link).

The Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge will be one of the longest self-anchored suspension bridges for pedestrians in the U.S. It is a graceful, single-cable, self-anchored suspension bridge with a single inclined pylon and a curved deck suspended only along the inside edge. The main span of the bridge is 354 ft and the pylon is 131 ft tall. The pylon is inclined at a 60° angle from the horizontal and leans over the deck to support the single pair of suspension cables. Thirty-four individual suspenders attached to the main cable support the 20-ft-wide deck from the top of the railing, at one edge, to one edge of the deck. The design includes a 530-ft curved span.

In addition to the overall shapes of the main structural elements, pedestrian bridges require very careful attention to the smallest design details because of the close contact of the users. The design of the Harbor Drive Pedestrian overcrossing incorporates simple and clean details for cable connections, stainless steel suspender cables and main cable sheathing, architectural concrete finishes and textured walking surfaces, and stainless steel aircraft cable mesh for the safety screening and indirect deck lighting. Enhanced lighting above and below the bridge deck and on the center pylon, as well as custom landscaped plazas on the north and south sides, complete the visual and functional aspects of the bridge.

Bentley commended T.Y. Lin International for excellence in project coordination and delivery – a fitting tribute to a city as progressive as San Diego. Working closely with the client, T.Y. Lin International developed a comprehensive work program that encompassed every aspect of the project: community participation; pedestrian traffic studies; conceptual design development; environmental clearance; railroad coordination; urban design; public art; and right-of-way engineering as well as preparation of final design, plans, specifications and estimates (PS&E), contractor outreach, permitting, construction management, and design support. MicroStation was used to allow designers in multiple locations to collaborate and visualize intricate bridge details.