- Top Projects – 1st Place Transportation, Daily Journal of Commerce
- Transportation & People’s Choice Award, CODAworx International
- Landscape/Urban Design Award of Merit, ENR Northwest
Background & Scope of Work
After nearly three years of concentrated planning and development, the much-anticipated pedestrian bridge connecting the Wildwood Trail over West Burnside came to realization in 2019. The Barbara Walker Crossing was crafted to carry the 80,000 hikers and runners who use the Wildwood Trail each year over a tragedy long waiting to happen: the dangerous at-grade crossing on West Burnside. The new bridge provides a safe connection between two of the Wildwood Trail’s most popular destinations, Hoyt Arboretum and the Pittock Mansion. An average 400 people each weekend day crossed Burnside before the bridge; 2,000 cross it today.
The Crossing is named for the late Barbara Walker, one of Portland’s most ardent champions of trails, connecting parks and outdoor spaces. In an unusual public/private partnership, Portland Parks Foundation led this project, raising the money and hiring the designer, engineer, and contractor. Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation and Metro each provided money and bureaucratic and technical expertise. The Crossing is, effectively, Portland’s first crowd-funded bridge with more than 60 percent of the budget coming from over 900 individual contributions from foundations, businesses and hundreds of individual donors. The design and construction team and donated countless hours of services early on in the design and development phase to ensure the Crossing project was set up for success.
Designed by nationally renowned, Portland based artist Ed Carpenter, the crossing is intended to blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings. Featuring a walking surface crafted of unique fiberglass panels, the 180-foot bridge curves over Burnside with a 150-foot radius. The sides of the bridge are highlighted by striking green branches that resemble ferns and evergreen needles, and over time the unpainted steel will seal itself with an earthy reddish-brown rust color, further integrating it into its surroundings.
R&H Construction won the contract to oversee fabrication and installation of the crossing in 2016. For over two-years, the general contractor and engineering team performed preconstruction services to help guide final fundraising efforts. During that time, several construction methods and procedures were analyzed for constructability, durability, aesthetics and cost to ensure the highest level of quality and value were achieved. Great attention was paid to properly stewarding the contributions of hundreds of individuals, businesses and government agencies. Another critical element: the bridge would need to be lifted into place quickly to minimize disruptions to Burnside, one of the busiest roads in the region and a major artery for emergency services.