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Now Open: New Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Over Tempe Town Lake

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T.Y. Lin International (TYLI), a globally recognized full-service infrastructure consulting firm, announces that the new Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge in Tempe, AZ has been completed and is officially open. The $5 million bridge complements the existing aesthetics of the Tempe Town Lake area and features unique criss-crossing parabolic arches that lead as a gateway into the Tempe Center of the Arts.

Designed by TYLI, the landmark signature footbridge connects bike and pedestrian paths from the north and south sides of the lake. It is the lake’s first non-vehicular bridge allowing runners, walkers, and bikers to cross over without competing with vehicle traffic. Utilizing the existing Tempe Town Lake Dam as its foundation, the new four span tubular steel structure consists of tied arches that “lean” into each other at a 21.4 degree angle and cross near both quarter points. One hundred and twenty-eight 1.375” steel cables criss-cross each other and add to the structure’s distinctive shape.

Additional features include a crowned 14’ wide concrete deck that flares to 16’ at all pier and abutment locations, allowing pedestrians ample space to take in the views. Decorative high-tensioned fabric that resembles sails provides shade over the walkways. The canopies’ shape complements the faceted roof of the Tempe Center of the Arts, which is located immediately south of the bridge landing. At night, soft white lighting illuminates the walkway, while blue lighting is projected upwards at the canopies on the structure.

“The new bridge design was chosen for the way it enhanced the appearance of the Tempe Town Lake area, especially the Center for the Arts,” said Dan Heller, TYLI Vice President. “The goal was to create something that invited pedestrian use through its combination of beauty and function, but also looks completely organic to the overall setting.”

The spans are fixed on the south end and allowed to expand on the north, resting on 1 ¾” sole plates and 4” elastomeric bearing pads. The entire bridge structure, along with the sprinkler system installed underneath its concrete walkway, helps to cool the rubber dam below and lengthen the life of the rubber bladders, which hold back the waters of Tempe Town Lake.

The sprinkler system itself is environmentally-sensitive: it will not turn on if the weather is cooler than 90 degrees, or if the wind is blowing away from the rubber bladders. It will also stay turned off after sunset.

The $5 million cost for the bridge was paid for primarily by federal grant money and matching funds. Every attempt was made to use local labor for its construction. The general contractor was PCL Construction and the steel fabricator was Stinger Welding Inc. Killer Shade created the canvas canopies over the walkway, and Clodfelter Bridge and Structures International, Inc. provided all 128 steel cables.

“The Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge meets expectations in terms of practical use and cost-effectiveness,” said Dan Heller, TYLI Vice President. “The result is an elegant and well engineered structure that allows pedestrians to take in the scenic views.”

Photo Credit: Tom Paiva