The crews recently pulled up a pedestrian bicycle bridge in California.

City of Emeryville, California

The Californian city of Emeryville has planned a pedestrian-bike bridge to better connect hiking trails and parks and avoid the busy vehicle traffic.

The bridge was lifted into place in December 2020 by crews who spent three days working on the delicate operation to move the structure. Watch the time lapse video:

Biggs Cardosa Associates, HNTB, Callander & Associates, MNS Engineers and Ghilotti Construction are working on the $ 21.4 million Project.

History of the project

  • The bridge has been included in the Emeryville General Plan since the 1980s, with a plan to create a safe pedestrian-bicycle link that will connect the east and west sides of the city via the railroad tracks.
  • Project development began in 2002 as the Emeryville Redevelopment Agency Project – Architectural Design.
  • The environmental review took place in 2008.
  • The technical design started in 2009.
  • The project was stopped with the deauthorization of remediation agencies in California.
  • City sued California over $ 12 million in project funding; returned in 2014.
  • Project reactivated in 2015
  • The right of way negotiations were concluded between 2015 and the beginning of 2019.
  • Pre-qualification process of the contractor in early 2018.
  • Construction contract offer and award in mid-2019.
  • Construction began in January 2020 and is expected to be completed in autumn 2021.

Details on bridge fabrication

  • The defining feature of the project, the arch span, is made of materials and components manufactured on three continents and in six states.
  • Cables were made in Switzerland and cable jacks in Houston, Texas. The cables were fully assembled in Montreal, Canada.
  • The bridge was manufactured in Arizona and the initial assembly was completed there at the end of October.
  • The bridge deck and arch components were trucked to Horton Landing Park in early November.
  • The assembly of the bridge arch structure was completed in mid-December. Deck and arch components were welded and bolted together, and temporary towers were used to ensure the appropriate geometries to match the design.

Bridge lift

Due to the restrictions on working over an active rail corridor, the bridge was installed outside the Union Pacific right of way and raised over the tracks. The bridge lift is a delicate operation and requires extensive preparation to prepare and perform the lift. The operation to conduct this activity culminated in a three-day continuous effort conducted 24 hours a day to ensure safe and efficient operations with minimal impact on train operations.

The bridge lift required months of preparation:

  • The realignment of some utilities and site preparation were initially carried out.
  • The construction of bridge piers on the east and west sides, including driven piles to support the structure, was installed.
  • Preparing for the elevator required the placement of crane mats and steel plates to support the cranes and provide a uniform surface for the cranes to move the bridge on.
  • The cranes were erected and the bridge load balanced.
  • UPRR restricted train traffic for a window of approximately 4 hours on the night of Saturday, December 19, to allow construction team access to the railroad.
  • The bridge was raised and placed in position during the first 1.5 hours of the window and immediately afterwards structurally secured with the assistance of a crane. The cranes and crane mats and slabs were then removed from the UPRR track area and train traffic resumed before the early morning on Sunday, December 20.

COVID-19 challenges

The further development of this project was continued by the COVID-19 Pandemic Shelter-in-Place arrangement. The city and contractor are working together to comply with the latest Alameda County and California health regulations and to minimize the risk of infection for workers, residents and the general public.

The pandemic has affected the project in delays in the supply chain. The contractor and the city worked together to minimize delays from the schedule and order of work changes.

Read more about the project on the city’s website.