Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge



The Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge provides a vital urban link for Colorado Springs, spanning over an active railyard that acted as a barrier. By extending the east-west axis of Vermijo Avenue to the America the Beautiful Park, the new pedestrian bridge reconnects the urban fabric of downtown Colorado Spring. The bridge also stitches together a growing network of pedestrian bicycle paths including the Pikes Peak Greenway and Midland Trail running alongside Monument Creek.

Designed by the same team as the adjacent U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum complex, the new pedestrian bridge takes its inspiration from the gravity-defying motion of athletes, with a 250-foot curved steel structure that floats above the railyard. Two interlocked loops, stretching from either side of the railyard, connect the museum and the park. DS+R Partner-in-Charge and Lead Designer Benjamin Gilmartin noted, “The bridge is an exercise in fitness - both in terms of material and geometry.The hybrid steel structure system functions as an arch and a truss, elegantly preserving views from Downtown to the majestic mountain ranges of Pike’s Peak.”

The bridge’s generous width safely accommodates pedestrians and cyclists alike. At it’s widest point, an oculus at either side of the bridge frames the museum and downtown to the east, or a platform for trainspotting below and a distinct look out to the Rock Mountain to the west. In the evenings, lighting along the bridge will trace a single vector from one side of the tracks to the other, giving a sense of speed and motion while providing illumination for pedestrians and cyclists.

The prefabricated bridge was assembled in a staging area in Houston and a full fit up was conducted in May 2020. The pieces will be driven into place using self-propelled modular transporters over the course of a single weekend, minimizing outage for the rail lines and yard. As bridge sections are delivered, the bridge will be assembled on the ground to weld each section together. Assembly of the bridge sections was completed at the end of June. This October, the bridge was hoisted and placed onto its abutments in its entirety in a carefully orchestrated process completed within an eight-hour window.

To view videos of the placement, including time lapse and drone footage, please visit DS+R's YouTube channel.

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Project information
ClientCity of Colorado Springs LocationColorado Springs, US
Placement onto bridge abutments5th October 2020Commission2014
PartnersBenjamin Gilmartin,Elizabeth Diller,Ricardo Scofidio,and Charles Renfro
Project DirectorHolly Deichmann Chacon
Project ArchitectMerica May Jensen
TeamYushiro Okamoto and Ryan Botts
External credits
Anderson Mason DaleExecutive Architect
ArupStructural Engineer
KL&AStructural Engineer (Bridge Abutments)
KING FabricationSteel Fabricator
Kiewit ConstructionGeneral Contractor
Tillotson DesignLighting Consultant
Felsburg Holt & UllevigRailroad Consultant
FUHuengRailroad Consultant
TerraconOnsite Inspector
    Photography by Dan Oldfield and City of Colorado Springs