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SOM

Millennium Park – BP Pedestrian Bridge

At 935 feet in length, the sinuous BP Pedestrian Bridge is a prominent feature in downtown Chicago. Snaking across Columbus Drive, a main thoroughfare, the footbridge is one of several notable collaborations between SOM and Frank Gehry. In each of these projects, SOM engineers have played a critical role in developing structural systems that support the architect’s sculptural metal surfaces.

The BP bridge connects Daley Bicentennial Plaza with Millennium Park. At both entrances, curving ramps made of reinforced concrete gently slope upward at a wheelchair-accessible angle of five degrees. Girders connected to underground parking garages help support this part of bridge. To support the steel walkway as it passes over Columbus Drive, the SOM team created a central pylon anchored to the roadway’s median. SOM engineers succeeded in minimizing costs and materials while preserving the integrity of Gehry’s inventive design.

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