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Pine Street Pedestrian Bridge

May 1, 2016

PROJECT: Pine Street Pedestrian Bridge
CHALLENGE: Cost Effective Utility Corridor; Contaminated Soils; Project Locations on Two Sides of River; Complicated Bridge Placement; Control Storm Water Run-off
SOLUTION: Install Bridge as Utility Conduit Carrier, Cofferdams Installation to Remove Contaminated Soils and Dewatering; Utilizing Two Cranes For Bridge Placement; Install Aqua Swirl System
OWNER: City of Traverse City
CONTRACT AMOUNT: $1,041,074.00
DESIGN ENGINEER: Timothy Lodge, City of Traverse City Engineering Department
LOCATION: Pine Street, Downtown Traverse City
DATE STARTED: September 2015
PARTNERS: Bella Concrete, Top Line Electric, Peninsula Pavers, Traverse Outdoor

As Traverse City’s downtown area has expanded and segmented into separate “districts,” the area has become more vibrant and bustling than ever before. The increasing use of the area has also left some districts feeling separate from the rest of the downtown area—an issue that low bid Team Elmer’s was contracted to help solve with a recent

The project in question took us to Pine Street and the banks of the Boardman River. The task was to construct a 105-foot prefabricated pedestrian bridge to connect Traverse City’s Warehouse District with the rest of downtown. In addition to construction of the bridge, the job involved site preparation, landscaping, lighting, electrical conduits, manholes, and more.

The bridge itself was to be more than just a bridge. Cleverly, the design of the project combined a pedestrian-friendly improvement with a way to run electrical lines across the Boardman River. The bridge’s job wasn’t just to funnel pedestrians from one side of the water to the other; it was also to carry lines across the water so that they wouldn’t have to be directionally bored underneath the river. By carrying the lines across the river, the Pine Street Bridge was able to help Traverse City Light & Power complete a conversion to underground power lines for much of the surrounding area.

Of course, for this method of getting electrical lines across the river to be acceptable, the bridge had to pass the aesthetic test. It had to look like it belonged in the downtown area and had to add a certain element of beauty to Pine Street and the Warehouse District areas. Engineers and designers found the perfect look by browsing through a number of different bridge styles and designs. Eventually, they settled on weathering steel as the ideal material for the bridge, liking its reddish brown hue and how it complemented both the character of the Warehouse District and the reddish bricks that define much of TC’s downtown area.

During the installation process, Team Elmer’s turned its attention to some of the more work-intensive challenges of the project. First, in order to access the worksite and install the bridge, power lines and power poles were moved to make way for our crane. Next, Team Elmer’s had to drive a 13 x 26-foot cofferdam into the river, because the bottom of the abutment needed to be roughly five feet below the waterline. Finally, we had to deal with contaminated soils at the site of each abutment, thick, black, smelly material, that had to be tested, classified, extracted, and hauled away to the proper location.

Once the soil was cleaned up and the water pumped out, Team Elmer’s was able to progress with the project. We installed stone, an aqua swirl storm water runoff containment system, poured concrete abutments with Bella Concrete, and prepared to set the bridge across the river. Of course, this stage also presented a challenge. The bridge came prefabricated in two pieces that needed to be lined up and bolted together prior to placement. Once bolted together, placement required the use of two cranes—one on each side of the river—to get the bridge set securely in place safely.

Once the bridge pieces were connected and in place, all that was left to do was place the power lines along the bottom of the bridge, install brick pavers by Peninsula Pavers and add a few finishing touches to make it ready for public use. Pedestrian plazas were installed on both sides of the bridge, as well as lighting and landscaping to add to the aesthetic character of the project.

As a finished project, the Pine Street pedestrian bridge now provides a spot for Traverse City residents to enjoy the Boardman River, a way to keep two sections of the downtown area better connected, and an innovative solution for getting electric lines across the river. Way to go team!

Pine Street Pedestrian Bridge
By The Numbers

• 105’ Weathered Steel & Wood Constructed Bridge: 1
• 4” Fiberglass Electrical Conduit: 600 lineal feet
• PVC Conduit: 3,480 lineal feet
• Lighted Bollards: 14
• Cofferdams: 2
• Concrete Sidewalk: 7,782 square feet
• Brick Paver Sidewalk: 2,127 square feet
• Concrete Curb: 503 feet
• HMA: 64 tons
• Wood-Trimmed Concrete Illuminated Seat Walls: 200 ft
• Quaking Aspen Trees: 31
• Red Osier Shrubs: 125

Click here to download the Pine St Pedestrian Bridge PDF! 


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