Original information below

Welcome to the University District Pedestrian Bicycle Bridge Study blog.   A brief overview is provided below; tabs above provide more information. When you have reviewed the information, please let us know what you think through our simple survey, located at the following site:
The need for the bridges has been identified and confirmed in numerous studies over the years (Go to Studies tab for more information).

This aerial photo shows the project area and how it connects with the overall non-motorized plan of the city. A closer picture of the project area is below.  You may click on any photo or drawing in this blog to enlarge it.

Study Purpose and Objectives
1. One of the key objectives of the proposed bridge is to  develop a non-motorized connection from the Sprague area and medical district south of the rail corridor to the Riverpoint Campus, Gonzaga and the north neighborhoods. This will provide a safe, convenient, enjoyable way for users to connect to other trails and bikeways for recreation and commuting purposes. The yellow lines on the map show the bicycle trails currently connecting to the project area. 

2.  Another key objective is to stimulate economic development in the Sprague area. We are working closely with representatives from the East Sprague Redevelopment Study to ensure the studies compliment each other. For more information on the East Sprague Redevelopment Study, go to click on Targeted Area  Development.

3.  A third objective is to create a skyline signature icon and sense of place.  This is a unique location with great opportunity to create something special.

Study and Selection Process
Public involvement is an important part of the process to select the option to be moved forward into design and the environmental review. The Mayor's Advisory Committee, comprised of key stakeholders and community representatives, worked diligently with the consultant team, KPFF Consulting Engineers and LMN Architects, over four months to consider all possible options and eliminate any that did not meet technical requirements.  The committee established objectives and criteria based on results from previous community plans which reflected both stakeholder and community needs (see Objectives page).  These were used along with the key considerations listed below to identify and analyze the options. Go to the Options Analysis page for more information on the various options and why there were eliminated.

  • Alignment: key parameters are the connections to Grant and Sherman on the south and the impact those connections will have on the property owners and area, and the connection impacts to the Riverpoint Campus on the north.
  • Landings: key parameters for the landing design are the ADA accessibility requirements and clearance requirements of the railroad and city streets.
  • Bridge style: key parameter for the bridge type and style is the depth of the superstructure: the deeper the structure the higher the bridge, the higher the landing elevation, the longer the ramp. 

Both of the options selected for further review:
  • Develop a non-motorized connection from the Sprague area and medical district south of the rail corridor to Riverpoint Campus, Gonzaga, and north neighborhood.
  • Meet all technical and safety requirements. 
  • Stimulate redevelopment on the south side. 
  • Create a skyline signature and sense of place.
  • Include safety and maintenance.
  • Provide ADA and bicycle access.  The runnel makes it safe and easy to transport bicycles up and down stairs. The runnell is the edging the person is sliding the bike on.
  • Will be steel structures with concrete decks.

Things that are different between the options are as follows:
  • Length and elevation of the bridge from the ground
  • Type of ADA and bicycle access
  • Street connections on the south side
  • Amount of land required
  • Bridge styles
  • Maintenance requirements

Because the height and length of the bridge is based on the location and type of landing, the features of the two options described below are not interchangeable.The purpose of this phase of the study is to decide upon the type, size and location for the bridge.  The drawings below are preliminary sketches; details will be developed in the design stage.

Option 1
  • North side (Riverpoint Campus): Access is from the north center spine of the Riverpoint campus. The landing for Option 1 is small with a glass elevator. Using an elevator reduces the amount of land needed, however there are additional responsibilities and maintenance required for an elevator.
  • Bridge structure: The bridge is 290' long and 26' from the ground. Possible styles include truss, single arch or double arch. 
  • South side (East Sprague area): Access is from Sherman Ave for both options; this option also includes stairs near Grant.  Option 1 uses the property bordering the railroad right-of-way to create a gradual ramp through a neighborhood green space that overlooks the campus, railroad, bridge and downtown.  
This first drawing is shown on an aerial to help you understand the exact location of the proposed bridge.

The next two drawings show the landings on both sides of the rail corridor along with the bridge alignment.

Option 2
  • North side (Riverpoint Campsu): Access is from the north center spine of the Riverpoint campus. Option 2 has a larger landing area with ramps instead of an elevator, which requires more land, but negates the cost of maintaining an elevator.
  • Bridge structure: The bridge is 400' long and 16' from the ground. Possible styles include truss, double arch or cable-stay.
  • South side (East Sprague area): Access is only from Sherman Ave for Option 2. Because the bridge is longer, the ramps leading to it are shorter.  Therefore, less land is needed, but it does not include the green space.
Option 2 maps below.

Bridge Styles

Trusses, arches and cable-stayed bridges are being studied for both alignments.  Drawings are preliminary and do not include details such as the safety fence and handrails.  The portion of the span over BNSF will have throw barriers approximately 10 feet tall with openings not greater then 2-inch square.  Handrails have not been shown in the bridge styles, but will be developed with safety and aesthetics in mind; these will be added during the design phase of the study. Descriptions of each style are outlined following the drawings.

Truss Style
The truss is a triangular design used for support that span across the sides of the bridge. This bridge creates a more enclosed experience, as the structure is part of the walls. The truss bridge will have a more subdued appearance against the city skyline as the structure is fairly compact and straight. This style is likely the least expensive of the three.

Arch Style
In the arch type of bridge, weight of the deck is carried along one or two curved paths. With the structure pulled away from the deck space, this style lends itself to a more open air experience. The arch bridge style can have a grander appearance than the truss style with a distinct structure against the skyline. This style is likely to be the second least expensive of the three.

Cable-stay Style
The deck of a suspension bridge is hung by cables which hang from towers. The cables transfer the weight to the towers, which transfer the weight to the ground. With the use of cables instead of structural steel to support the deck, this style lends itself to the most open air experience. The towers associated with this bridge style create the most prominent appearance against the skyline of the three options. A cable-stay is likely the most expensive bridge style.

Thank you for your interest in this important study; refer to the tabs at the top for additional information and PLEASE take a few minutes to complete our survey at  the following site:

Project Manager: Katherine Miller,
Senior Engineer City of Spokane