Design Competition for Pedestrian Bridge in Providence, Rhode Island

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Source: City of Providence, Rhode Island

The City of Providence is staging a limited design competition to select the designer for the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge that will replace the old Interstate 195 Bridge that spans the Providence River. The bridge will create a new connection for pedestrians and bicyclists from the Fox Point and College Hill neighborhoods to Downtown and link two new waterfront parks that are part of the I-195 relocation project. Originally, the City received qualifications from 47 different design teams. They then narrowed the field down to 11 teams in order to provide a creative jumpstart for the design/construction process and to clarify program elements, design opportunities and associated project costs at the beginning of the project.

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Source: City of Providence, Rhode Island

Some of the finalist teams included: H2L2/Arup, inFORM studio/Buro Happold, McDowell + Benedetti Architects LLP, RFR, Studio Providence, LLC, William D. Warner Architects and Planners, Ltd. and WXY architecture + urban design. The deadline for submissions was October 29, 2010. The designs are now on virtual exhibit on flickr where you can leave comments and opinions about each of the suggested designs.

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Source: City of Providence, Rhode Island
Twenty years ago, the Providence Foundation and the City of Providence requested that the intersection of I-95 and I-195 be relocated due to it physically isolating the downtown of Providence from both the Jewelry District and its waterfront. In 1997, the Rhode Island Dept of Transportation (RIDOT) agreed to make the change to the viaduct. The I-195 Relocation Project is the largest project RIDOT has built since the construction of the Interstate system. The project is nearing completion which has created the potential for two new waterfront parks along the Providence River. The future parks are separated by the river - hence the need for a new pedestrian bridge. The actual location of the bridge will be built on the granite piers of the current I-195 river crossing.

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Source: City of Providence, Rhode Island
Green Parts of Bridge Competition
If you scroll through the design entries, you will see that some of the teams took green design and ecological concerns more seriously than others. According to Bonnie Nickerson, director of Long-Range Planning with the Dept of Planning and Development, green features were not a driving issue for the selection of the 11 teams. They had to meet requirements regarding experience with the design and construction of previous pedestrian bridges. However, the reuse of the existing piers, the connection for foot traffic & bicycles along with the construction of the parks will make the project, at completion, a green feature none-the-less.

More on Bridge Design:
Living Bridges in India Have Grown for 500 Years
Xylophone Bridge: Seoul's Interactive Music-Making Bike Path
Bridges are for People: 7 Bridges that People Live and Work On
Wood Bridge In Netherlands As Strong as Steel and a Lot Prettier

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