By Josh Barr
One more piece of the southwest downtown Colorado Springs landscape is now in place.
Over the course of eight hours, a 550-ton bridge was hoisted in the air and moved into place, connecting the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and Downtown Colorado Springs with America the Beautiful Park.
“I am unabashedly calling it the bridge to the future,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said.
The bridge was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which also designed the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. The 250-foot span was fabricated in Houston and transported in sections to Colorado Springs. Once on site, the bridge was reassembled and crews used eight 250-ton mega jacks to raise the bridge 25 feet in the air.
In order to safely move the bridge into position above 11 railroad tracks, 750 tons of timber matting and 202 tons of steel plates were moved into position to protect the tracks from the equipment being used. Crews then used remote-controlled transporters to position the bridge on its abutments.
Rail traffic in the Pikes Peak Region was held in place for eight hours to allow the bridge to be installed.
Work to finish the project continues, with the installation of an elevator, stairwells, lighting, handrails and metal façade panels. The bridge is expected to open in the spring.
“The bridge is an exercise in fitness – both in terms of material and geometry,” said Benjamin Gilmartin, DS+R partner-in-charge and lead designer. “The hybrid steel structure system functions as an arch and a truss, elegantly preserving views from Downtown to the majestic mountain ranges of Pikes Peak.”