University District Gateway Bridge - Exterior

University District Gateway Bridge


Spokane, Washington


City of Spokane

Collaborators +

Prime Consultant: KPFF Consulting Engineers (Structural, Civil, and Plumbing Engineering)

General Contractor: Garco Construction

Mechanical & Electrical Engineering: MW Consulting Engineers

Landscape Architecture: Sherry Pratt Van Voorhis, P.S.

Lighting Design: MW Consulting Engineers

Project Size

Bridge length: 450 feet

Project Status



Urban Design

The University District Gateway Bridge is in Downtown Spokane, located between the University District and the East Sprague neighborhood. The dual-span bridge crosses over the BNSF railway and East Martin Luther King Jr. Way, generating new connections within the local community and fostering new development in the traditionally underdeveloped Sprague neighborhood.

The robust details of the 450-foot span bridge were inspired by traditional railyard bridges, while the 120-foot tall concrete arch establishes the bridge as an icon and significant new landmark on Spokane’s skyline. The bridge deck is suspended from the arch with thick steel cables and stout connectors, creating a visual counterpoint to the graceful curve of the bone-white arch. The sturdy 10-foot-high throw barrier required by the railroad completes the composition with built-in pathway lighting. At night four large floodlights and the programmable color-changing LED system illuminate the iconic structure, enhancing its visibility from throughout the city.

The University District Gateway Bridge and plazas at the north and south create a new civic space revitalizing and connecting the University District, spurring much-needed economic growth on the south side of the tracks and linking the university with housing and retail opportunities.

Photography: Adam Hunter

Selected Awards

2022 Best of BEGA, Honorable Mention

2020 Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Award

2019 AIA Washington Council Civic Design Award, Honorable Mention