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Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Takes Shape Over Tempe Town Lake

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A dramatic pedestrian bridge under construction across Tempe Town Lake will soon connect the shores of the 220-acre lake's west end near the Tempe Center for the Arts.  The 912-ft-long bridge will open to foot traffic in late August.

Photo by James M. Doyle
Crews placed the first of four 228-ft-long steel arch sections, each weighing in at 165,000 lbs, in mid-May.
Photo by James M. Doyle
Workers prepare the deck steel along the arch spans already in place while another span is readied for hoisting in the background.
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Built mostly with federal money, the approximately $7-million tied-arch bridge is 12 ft wide, with the deck widening to 14 ft at the abutments. Arches are 34 ft high, supporting 32 metal suspension cables ranging from 26 to 43 ft long.

“This is another iconic bridge over Tempe Town Lake,” says Jeff Kulaga, assistant city manager. “It joins the two Mill Avenue Bridges, the light rail bridge and the trestle railroad bridge.” It will allow people to make a circular stroll around the lake and will provide a new route for the many charity walks held at Tempe Beach Park, he adds.

Workers with construction manager-at-risk PCL Construction Inc.’s Tempe, Ariz. office placed the first of four steel sections, each 228 ft long and weighing 165,000 lbs, in mid-May. The second section was hoisted and connected to the first May 27. The two remaining sections comprising the north side of the bridge are being assembled on the ground and will be lifted into place by two Manitowoc 4100 Series II cranes, says Adam Gordon, PCL’s project manager.

San Francisco-based T.Y. Lin International is providing structural engineering, overall management and delivery. Design consultant Otak Inc.’s Tempe office completed the conceptual designs and final aesthetics such as lighting and landscape architecture.

Coolidge, Ariz.-based Stinger Welding Inc. delivered the spans and fabricated in the field. The firm also created the expansion joints, handrail and cables and painted the bridge.

In addition to its recreational functions, the bridge will also shade the new temporary western dam, completed last fall, and provide the structure for mounting its cooling system, Kulaga adds. The previous dam was replaced after suffering a sudden collapse last year due to heat and Arizona’s intense sunlight. A permanent dam will be constructed by 2014.

While the design was completed at the end of 2007 and final construction documents in September 2008, the project was on hold until funding became available.

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