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  • Writer's pictureEric Meadows

Pedestrian Bridge Build and Installation

We successfully completed a time-sensitive job recently building a pedestrian bridge at a residential site. The homeowner asked us to design and build a walkway bridge across one end of the lake in her front yard in time for her daughter's upcoming wedding. The bridge would be about 40 feet in length spanning the mouth of the creek which feeds the lake. It would provide means for her guests to cross over the water to reach the gazebo where the ceremony would take place.

We wanted to design the bridge not only for the event, but also to fit into the scheme for the lifetimes it will span the waterway.

pedestrian bridge walkway footbridge boardwalk
View of the completed pedestrian bridge from the house

Prefabrication Process

After designing the perfect bridge for the space, we began the prefab process at our Bridges to the Other Side fabrication shop. The bridge would be a combination of steel and wood with reinforced concrete footers. A special design feature on this particular walkway would be its arch. The steel beams on the bridge were curved to create the arched span and give the pedestrian walkway a more park-like look and appeal. In addition, we added custom cut steel pickets at close intervals giving the bridge the ornate look the homeowner wanted.

welded steel pedestrian bridge prefabricated
Creating an arched Foot Bridge takes careful attention to detail

With the wedding date growing nearer and nearer, we focused on completing the steel structure ahead of schedule to allow extra time for the installation since weather could possibly delay the process. In our shop, we welded the rails to the beams, matching the arch with an upper handrail and lower foot rail for added decor and structural rigidity.

pedestrian walkway prefabrication welded steel
Our steel structures are custom designed and hand crafted for our bridges

Next, we hand cut and welded the vertical pickets onto the hand rails at precise intervals to ensure a symmetrical look. Our fabricators made quick work of the process having had lots of experience building walkway bridges for both residential and commercial installations.

Installation Day!

With the pedestrian bridge steel structure completed, we moved toward the installation with time to spare...provided the weather cooperated. The days leading up to install had been filled with rain which would create problems for the crane we would be using to hoist the bridge up and over the gazebo and onto the footers waiting to hold it in its final resting place.

Fortunately, the weather was kind and we were able to negotiate the crane into place in time for the arrival of the bridge. While not all pedestrian bridges require a crane for placement (most don't), this would be a unique install in a difficult to reach space. Our designers accounted for all steps along the way so the install would go as smoothly as possible. The bridge was strapped to the awaiting lift and hoisted 25ft into the air to clear the obstacles and gently lowered onto the concrete footers. All things had to be engineered with extreme accuracy to ensure a perfect fit between the steel beams and the footers. Our experience helped us make the job much easier than it must have looked to anyone watching. Everything lined up to the millimeter and the steel skeleton of the walkway was in place.

steel pedestrian bridge installed
Pedestrian Bridge complete with wood rail caps and boardwalk beams...newlyweds not included.

With the walkway timbers in place and the final touch of wood rail caps, the bridge was in place for its inaugural event...and for a lifetime to come!

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