December 7, 2021
Coming in at no. 39 in our Top 100 Projects countdown is 2019’s Riverview Bridge, a 1,000-foot-long pedestrian bridge located in Chicago, Illinois.
The bridge is comprised of a 16-span reinforced concrete structure that is approximately 1010’-0” long and 16’-0” wide with a 14' path. The bridge is supported on single column caissons spaced at 60’-0” intervals and has seven horizontal curves varying from 100’-0” radius to 1600’-0” radius.
Riverview Bridge is a component of the North Branch Riverfront Trail and completes a critical link in the off-arterial trail spanning from the city core on the south to the extensive set of northern trails that reach to the Botanic Gardens, Ft. Sheridan and points north. By running below Addison Street and off-street to a new bridge over the river to California Park, a nearly contiguous 2-mile-long recreational trail (now called the 312 RiverRun) is created between Clark Park at Belmont Avenue and Horner Park at Montrose. With a safe and secure connection between Horner, California and Clark Parks, the parks themselves are enhanced nominally, creating a single from the set. Providing a multi-purpose bridge over the river is the key to the singular character of this trail segment and promises to reintroduce the river to thousands of Chicago residents.
Epstein’s design strategy for Riverview Bridge involved the unconventional solution of disengaging the path from the riverbank and elevating the entire structure above the water level. This solution elevates the trail on piers, and locates it within the river, providing a sustainable solution that preserves the maximum amount of vegetation and riverbank stability, while minimizing scouring and erosion.
For this project, Epstein assembled a visionary team of designers, nautical, structural and civil engineers and landscape architects to augment the city’s staff in an inclusive planning process of information gathering, exploration, synthesizing and visualizing. In an exploration of the constituent elements and the overall plan, the process included field observation and research, stakeholder workshops, engaging local and official input at both the individual nodes and along the length of the trail. The team then synthesized the results, creating a holistic composition from the diverse elements, resulting in an identity for the trail that reflects the community’s culture, commerce and recreation.