Grand Avenue Park Bridge

Everett, Washington

Project Size:

Bridge length: 210 feet

Project Status:

Completed 2020


Transportation Design, Urban Design

Selected Awards

2020 AN Best of Design Awards

Infrastructure, Editors' Picks

The new Everett Grand Avenue Park Bridge was originally conceived as a functional bridge to carry utilities to the future neighborhood located at the base of the steep slope of the Grand Avenue Park. The receiving of a federal grant presented an opportunity to integrate a pedestrian pathway and connect the park with the farmers market, the new mixed-use development on the waterfront, and the public marina.

After various feasibility studies performed by others, it became obvious that the new bridge had to be defined by a unique system of ramps and stairs to avoid the introduction of an elevator and stair into the critically unstable slope of Grand Avenue Park. The gradual changes in grade had to take into consideration the existing electrical lines, a 5-lane highway, and the BNSF train tracks at the base.  Starting from the park, pedestrians will walk out along the top of the bridge and then descend into the bridge by either the stair or ramp system, then proceed to the west end where they can further descend to the Everett waterfront by stair or elevator.

The design is pragmatic, economical, and composed of an intuitive way-finding system that is welcoming and experientially rich for the residents and visitors of Grand Avenue Park. The truss design is minimal and structurally inexpensive. The main trusses are constructed of weathering steel which forms a stable rust layer that provides corrosion protection and removes the need for paint.  The pedestrian pathway’s elegant throw barrier system contrasts the rougher character of the truss with its silvery aluminum panels that become porous through a beautiful pattern of perforations.

The pathway’s perforation patterns have an organic quality that echo the shapes of the surrounding natural environment, evoking the forms of the native leaves and vines on the hill. In some areas the pattern closes down to create a reflective surface for the lighting system. Lighting is integrated into the structure and the guardrail system, purposed to create a welcoming space at night. Each panel is different due to the geometry of the bridge and varying throw barrier requirements. The perforation pattern creates a dynamic experience as it changes along the walking path in response to the structural elements, creating more closed areas when it aligns with the truss. The pattern is also sand blasted into the concrete tower along the path of the staircase, adding an artistic expression that breaks down the massive concrete element.

The Everett Grand Avenue Park Bridge creates a new viewing platform and civic space with an inventive, accessible pathway. The ribbon of stairs and ramps cascade down from Grand Avenue Park and provide new experiences defined by a series of unscripted moments with views of the public marina, Puget Sound, and the distant Olympic Mountains. The bridge is both simple and complex, and is a symbol of urban revitalization that integrates public infrastructure in an innovative design.