The Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) Project-of-the Year Award was recently given to design consultant, TRC Companies Inc., for their work on a new pedestrian/cycle Big R Bridge over the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, CA.
The triple-span, modified bowstring truss bridge which runs parallel to Highway 1 near River Street, completes the bicycle network, and provides a safer river crossing in the north end of the city. The bridge is 303 feet long and includes several pathway spurs connecting to existing streets and trails. The spans include two 86.25 feet approach spans and a 130.5 feet center span with 12 feet wide concrete decks. A plastic coated wire mesh railing system and custom light fixtures complete the picture.
With an interest in lowering maintenance costs and reducing environmental impact, the city opted for a weathering steel finish that would not require painting. Big R’s pre-engineered and pre-fabricated design also helped to control costs by installing quickly with limited impact on the river habitat. This $2.6 million project, would have cost about $5 million if done according to the original concrete design.
TRC’s Infrastructure Group overcame design challenges, including minimizing impact on the sensitive riparian environment and integrating the new bridge into a complex urban setting and multi-modal transportation infrastructure. TRC conducted preliminary engineering work for the project, including bridge type selection studies, pathway alignment studies, hydraulic studies, geotechnical investigation, and environmental coordination. The final engineering was also performed by TRC. The project is now under consideration for an APWA National Project-of-the-Year Award.