The Taylor Yard Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge, an aesthetically distinctive steel structure, is ushering in a new generation of bridge crossings over the LA River. Now open, the bridge is designed exclusively for pedestrians and bicyclists, connecting the Elysian Valley neighborhood with the active, residential Cypress Park community. While providing a safe and memorable path to travel on, the bridge offers two cantilevered lookouts with expansive north and south views of the adjacent communities and natural surroundings of the Glendale Narrows section of the river.
Taylor Yard Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge is one of three pedestrian crossings recently erected along the LA River as part of the Los Angeles’ River Revitalization Master Plan. This crossing will eventually connect to the Taylor Yard G2 River Park, a new, sustainable recreational greenspace to be built on the 42-acre site adjacent to the river known as the G2 parcel.
As the bridge design consultant and engineer of record, Arup worked closely with the City of Los Angeles, SPF:architects, and the design team to deliver a bridge that meets the community’s needs and the City’s goals and architectural vision. Providing bridge engineering design, cost engineering, and construction support services, Arup designed a 27-foot-wide durable bridge that was able to be constructed efficiently, is easy to maintain, and is rated for emergency vehicle use to provide more efficient response times across the river.
Innovative pre-assembled construction
In accordance with the City of Los Angeles and the Army Corps of Engineers, Arup’s experts proposed a two-span steel truss bridge structure with hollow structural sections (HSS) and a central concrete pier wall support in the river, which has minimal impact on the riverbed. The superstructure’s HSS modules are 30 feet tall, 30 feet wide, and 22 feet 7 inches long. Designed to mimic a floating appearance, the concrete deck is an 18-foot-wide, 8-inch-thick reinforced-concrete deck slab that is cast on a stay-in-place corrugated steel metal decking form. The diagonal stainless-steel tension rods vary in size and provide stability while improving the strength of the bridge’s structure.
Given its location in seismically active southern California, the bridge was required to follow the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) seismic design criteria and performance goals. Arup’s design and engineering strategy relied on the use of a ductile substructure and elastic superstructure which limits the bridge’s inelastic behavior towards the bottom of the pier wall. The HSS modules used in the superstructure are designed to withstand damage and collapse from an earthquake given their sufficient strength and flex capacity. The HSS members are supported on bearings at the north abutment, south abutment, and at the center pier, and are designed to resist lateral seismic force and movement in an extreme seismic event.
With its statement orange truss structure, the Taylor Yard Bridge has become a beacon for wayfinding and orientation on the LA River. ”Anthony Kirby Principal
Sustainable construction strategies
Acknowledging the waterway’s complex ecosystem, Arup implemented sustainable construction strategies to minimize disruption to the river and the various living habitats it contains. Our focus on mitigation guided the design decision to preassemble segments of the steel box truss bridge at the adjacent fabrication yard before driving it down to the river and splicing it. This method allowed the bridge superstructure to be built within one dry season, ensuring continued protection of the river’s natural environment.
The project was initiated with an extensive constructability study conducted in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and Caltrans. The findings of this study informed all aspects of the project including the modified construction schedule and an overall design that ensured the structure remains safe and above water in a 100-year flood event.
The project was awarded the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Bronze certification.
Revitalizing the LA River
As one of the first of a new generation of river crossings, the project is aligned with Los Angeles’ River Revitalization Master Plan goals of bringing residents back to the river. Connecting two historically underserved communities, the Taylor Yard Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge provides visitors with river access and more green spaces to walk and bike to, standing as a landmark of a more connected and sustainable Los Angeles.