News

Palo Alto resets design process for new bike bridge

City Council agrees to halt negotiations with Moffatt & Nichol; request new bids for Adobe Creek structure

Frustrated by rising costs and engineering uncertainties, Palo Alto officials agreed early Tuesday morning to relaunch the design process for what they still hope will be a showpiece bike bridge over U.S. Highway 101.

The City Council agreed to halt negotiations with Moffatt & Nichol, the design team that it chose in May to design the new overpass at Adobe Creek. The firm was one of three finalists in last year's design competition for the new overpass and while its submission — a slender, understated suspension bridge — finished second in the jury-selection process, it ended up winning over the council.

Since then, however, the negotiations between Public Works staff and Moffatt & Nichol have taken a turn for the worse, with the project's budget climbing from about $9 million at the time of the submission to about $12 million today.

Staff also believes, based on conversations with other engineers, that the costs for a one-of-a-kind suspension bridge will likely escalate further. And it didn't help that Moffatt & Nichol had requested that the city remove from its contract a standard provision that requires contractors to "value engineer" (remove extra expenditures to lower the project's cost) the project at their own expense, should the costs rise.

Representatives from the design team protested that the higher price tag is driven by the hot construction market and maintained that it is best equipped to deliver the project. But for city staff, the gap between the city and the contractor was too large to bridge. The council approved staff's proposal to reopen the design process by launching a request for proposals that would allow other firms to submit proposals within the prescribed budget.

Assistant City Manager Ed Shikada said the Public Works Department has been working hard to reinforce the project-manager mantra of "scope, schedule and budget." While re-launching the design process will delay things by a few months, Shikada said it would "reinforce the discipline this department is trying to convey."

"The difficulties in negotiating this project is a poster child for how things can go sideways if this culture is not reinforced at every opportunity," he said.

The council took little satisfaction with hitting the reset button for the bike bridge, which is one of the most ambitious and expensive projects in Palo Alto's new bike and pedestrian master plan.

Councilwoman Liz Kniss called the process "extraordinarily frustrating."

"It's just stunning that we could be going up like this," Kniss said. "And at this point we're talking about being done in 2019. That's a far cry from where we began this."

Mayor Karen Holman concurred and called the process "more than frustrating." Though the council was hoping for an "iconic" bridge, on Tuesday morning council members found themselves debating the merits of bridges in other communities and considering more standard options.

"The whole purpose of this was to get a nicely designed bridge but not something out of the can and looking like something someone else has," Holman said. "It doesn't have to be an absolute showpiece, but at least something we can be proud of in this community."

Yet the council unanimously agreed to approve the staff recommendation. Councilman Marc Berman pointed at the growing costs and said his "gut isn't feeling good about the situation."

"The city has been through some pretty difficult experiences over the past couple of years in building big civic projects," he said. "I'm not interested in entering into long-term agreements if they're starting off with a lack of trust."

Steven Grovner, an architect on the Moffatt & Nichol team, countered that the new figures include more than $2 million in "contingency costs," a figure that was not requested and not provided during the design competition. It is very important, he said, to apply a 20 to 25 percent contingency to the construction cost estimate to get to a construction budget. The earlier figure also didn't include the cost of construction management, a figure that is included in the new estimate, he added.

Grovner also told the council that the Moffatt & Nichol team has already invested close to 2,000 hours over more than a year in the selection and design process for the bridge. Its members have collectively designed more than 700 bridges in California, he said, and are "in the very best position" to work with city officials on obtaining grants and reducing costs through value engineering.

"We have a lot of experience in delivering projects like this," Grovner said. "Working with us is, simply put, the fastest way to deliver this project. We're just asking: Give us a budget target and let us get to work."

But the argument failed to sway the city's Public Works staff, who have been negotiating with the design team since spring.

Brad Eggleston, assistant director of Public Works, said that the new process will probably extend the timeline by three to six months. Staff's biggest concern, he said, is the "unknowns with design and the problems we might run into."

The council went along with the recommendation to relaunch the design process.

"Staff has got to execute this, not council," Councilman Eric Filseth said. "If staff feels we ought to do a reset, we ought to support them."

Comments

21 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm

This is totally on the PACC. I do not blame the architect or engineers at all.

It is amateur hour at city hall when it comes to public building projects.

Any developer, property or homeowner can tell you that when you want to go "unique" or "statement" in your design - the budget will blow up. How this concept escapes what is supposedly intelligent/educated PACC members is mind boggling.

It's not like we have any recent "custom" projects to learn from...oh wait, we do... Mitchell Park Library. The Bay Bridge. Etc.

Please just build a normal, functional bike/ped bridge.


15 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Jeez, I didn't realize how ugly that design was until I saw the rendering on this article. Not to mention those bird-killing hanger cables. They passed up some really good alternatives for this?.

OK. Forward. Instead of torturing more well-meaning architects, the city should issue an RFP with this caveat in big letters on the cover: "We got $XX. Period. What can you build us for that? You eat the overruns."


24 people like this
Posted by Save us from karen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:17 pm

What is extraordinarily frustrating is the city council allowed mayor Holman to hijack the process in order to realize her out of touch vision for the bridge. She was the one pushing for an iconic structure and waxing on and on how it had to be a symbol for palo alto and that drivers on 101 should notice it!!!!! The council did nothing to reign her in and we end up with the typical palo alto scenarioa project with runaway costs that is nowhere near completion. I suggest the council check their oversized egos at the door. How hard can it really be to design and build a simple bridge???? I would further suggest that Holman recuse herself from the process, since she is incapable of grasping the big picture.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 12, 2015 at 11:11 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
The City Council should adopt these basic principles regarding this project:
1 - It must serve the functional need as of pedeestrian and bicycle bridge over 101
2 - It must be completed within 24 months
3 - It must be economical
4 -It cannot be ugly but it need not be beautiful

Given those principles then the Council should:
1 - Terminate the existing contracts
2 - Using the data produced to date develop a simple RFP that requires commitment to a fixed price
3 - Solicit a diversity of responses from that RFP
4 - Select the best response which properly balances total cost with other features such as appearance and life cycle cost
5 - Build the darn bridge
*********************
Step 1 - Done
Now let's move on to Steps 2-5 quickly


8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:45 pm

"What is extraordinarily frustrating is the city council allowed mayor Holman to hijack the process in order to realize her out of touch vision for the bridge."

As I remember, Holman was one of nine voting for this process and this design. Anyway, nobody's street has gotten parked up because of this.

IMHO, the blame for this fiasco goes to staff, who displayed incredible naivete dealing with design and construction professionals, failing to ask even basic questions about the pricing structure early in the RFP process. I wonder if this explains the Mitchell Library imbroglio as well.


24 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Please close the San Antonio Road bridge over Hwy to cars and let pedestrians and bicyclists use that until a separate bridge is built. Oregon Expressway or Rengstorff are just a minute away for cars, but an hour detour for a pedestrian. This process is dragging out because none of the city council walk this route. Putting some real pressure on them should encourage them to finish the project. Thank you.


10 people like this
Posted by Save us from karen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Curmudgeon-- if you go back and read previous articles, you will see that Holman called for an iconic structure. She called for it to be something that people will notice. She called for the long drawn out design contest. This was her little ego trip. Yes, the council could have voted differently, but we all know that filseth, dubois, burt and schmidt will not vote against her.
Clearly we need a common sense approach h that will yield a quick and economical solution.

Parent-- will never happen for obvious reasons.


6 people like this
Posted by Save Us From Cheap Shot Artists
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Karen was one of the nine council members that approved the iconic bridge and one of the nine council members that changed course when staff basically refused to work with Moffat and Nichol - and that's a whole other story.


13 people like this
Posted by Sal
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 15, 2015 at 8:06 pm

The bike bridge quagmire gets sent back to square one, and the mayor refuses to acknowledge that it's just a bike bridge, and not a monument to her ego.

Something safe, simple, and properly engineered to accommodate bike and pedestrian traffic is what is necessary. Just about anything else is an unnecessary cost overrun.

This could have been well underway by now, maybe even done. Why is this such a problem for this city council and city govt?


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

"Yes, the council could have voted differently, but we all know that filseth, dubois, burt and schmidt will not vote against her."

OK, OK, you've made your case that Holman is a natural leader. I'll acknowledge that. But obsessing on it will not get this bridge built. You need to teach our city staff how to work with architects.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Let's start a pool on when this bike bridge is completed and the inevitable lawsuits settled. I'll start with Jan 15, 2019 and not a day earlier.


6 people like this
Posted by 2nd Place For A Reason
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 16, 2015 at 5:40 am

The design competition winner wasn't this project for a reason. This is what Council gets for picking the design that they *thought* would work in spite of the proposal all the design professionals said was by far the superior choice both in terms of design criteria and accurate cost estimate. The Council's choice to ignore the competition and pick the runner up means it was left it up to a random slice of public opinion, lo and behold it didn't pencil, and now we are going to get something completely underwhelming and banal. Don't blame staff.


2 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:20 am

Fiscal prudence is paramount; so many other important tasks in the City with significant budgets. Simple, proven, previously-used design is best here.


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:22 am

I can't help feeling that this is even more proof that the people of Palo Alto are just pawns in a game, not residents who deserve to get decent infrastructure at a decent price in a decent amount of time.

Once again, the Palo Alto CC have to do everything the wrong way. We are not special, we are just normal people who want to have a functional bike bridge, or library, or park (at El Cam) or affordable shopping, or shopping, or police hq, or street repairs, or efficient moving traffic, or sensible parking, or creeks that don't flood when it rains, or cell coverage, or underground utility cables, or efficient trash pickup, or regular efficient road sweeping, or, or, or, get the picture? So much stuff we don't need and practically nothing we do need.

This city manages to make a complete mess out of anything and everything. Can anybody name one thing in the last couple of decades that has been done properly.


We are so tired of this town making a fiasco of everything.


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Simple, proven, previously-used design is best here."

Here is a magnificent example of what a well designed wood bridge looks like:

Web Link

And this breathtaking, 160-foot long “pinned arc-style" pedestrian bridge costs $720,000 and has become an icon!

And here is a 280 ft clear span wood bridge :

Web Link

Both have been built so we know exactly what they look like and the City can easily get both the plans and the actual cost of both bridges.

Why start from scratch?


Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:44 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Along with other successful designs, the Denver Metro Area has quite a few pedestrian, bicycle, car and RTD/train bridge designs. Some are replacing existing infrastructure, some are converting auto to pedestrian and bicycle bridges and quite a few are NEW structures for bicycle and pedestrian use.

The City Councils are not expert engineers; they take the time to address cost and benefits to their citizens before a contract is made and insist on the bonus and penalties for late finish date and cost overruns. Those are the terms set out in the standard RFP of any project.

No ego trips allowed.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

IMAGES of some of the trails in the surrounding area:

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:46 am

Please stop it with the wood bridges. They are incredibly slick when wet and this includes morning dew. The slats are noisy and bone rattling when bicycled over. It's not a good choice.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Please stop it with the wood bridges. They are incredibly slick when wet and this includes morning dew. The slats are noisy and bone rattling when bicycled over. It's not a good choice."

You are confusing sawn lumber with glulam bridge treads which are not slick when wet and which do not rattle.

Both the California State Parks and the US Forest Service have lots of experience with glulam bridges and they work extremely well.


3 people like this
Posted by Tired of Incompetenced
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:06 am

Two statements in this article state it all.

"...it didn't help that Moffatt & Nichol had requested that the city remove from its contract a standard provision that requires contractors to "value engineer" (remove extra expenditures to lower the project's cost) the project at their own expense, should the costs rise."

"...the new figures include more than $2 million in 'contingency costs,' a figure that was not requested and not provided during the design competition."

Was this the first RFP and contract the City staff handled? Where is the implementation of basic, common sense concepts for public officials looking out for constituents' interests.


4 people like this
Posted by Awsome
a resident of another community
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:11 am

So Palo Alto!!!!


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is an excellent photo, complete with bicycle, of a glulam bridge with glulam treads:

Web Link

PS. This bridge, in the Fern Canyon, get both a lot of rain and a lot of bicycle traffic.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is another bicycle and pedestrian wood bridge - with a 220 ft clear span:

Web Link

One phone call from the City to George Fox University and they could get the specs, cost and time needed for completion.

Here is some more information on this bridge:

Aug. 12, 2015 – The installation of a 220-foot pedestrian bridge provided quite a spectacle on the Newberg campus of George Fox University.

Web Link

It took about two hours for two massive hydraulic cranes to lift the 29.5- and 36.5-ton preassembled bridge halves into place so they could be joined to span the Hess Creek Canyon in the middle of the campus.

The Liebherr LTM 1500/8.1 and Grove GMK7550 mobile cranes each have booms over 250 feet and each can lift more than 550 tons.

The clear-span timber bridge will connect a new 30,000 square-foot dining facility (to be completed summer 2016) on the east side of the canyon with the primarily academic west side. Anderson Construction Company is overseeing both projects.

The bridge project is projected to cost about $600,000. Pedestrians should be able to use the bridge by Aug. 27.


26 people like this
Posted by Private Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:57 am

I totally agree that we need a relatively simple bridge to do the rather pedestrian job of getting walkers and bikers from one side of 101 to the other.

However, none of the example bridges (and their costs) posted by various others in this thread are comparable for technical reasons.

The biggest technical difference is that most of these bridges go over their span more or less at grade. Simply put, they span what are effectively trenches. Our new bridge will need to be elevated over grade, which means some pretty serious approach engineering that didn't need to be done on the examples cited.

This also greatly increases the length of the bridge because of the climb needed.

So the example bridges posted above are just not comparable.

One that is comparable though, is the Stevens Creek trail bridge over Highway 85, dedicated in 2012. It is 1500 feet long, and it has an easier approach than the new 101 bridge.

It also cost under $5 million dollars, and although isn't an icon, it is still very nice. Something this nice would be terrific for Palo Alto, and could be done comparatively quickly.

You can see pictures of it here:

Web Link

If we were to get something on this level, that would be quite adequate, quick and about 1/2 the cost of these proposals.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

"You can see pictures of it [at the Web Link in the original posting]. If we were to get something on this level, that would be quite adequate, quick and about 1/2 the cost of these proposals."

That works for me. Would you please copy the link to the city council?


6 people like this
Posted by Please just build a bridge...yesterday.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Please just get it done. We need a functional bridge. We needed it ten years ago. Build it and we will come!


6 people like this
Posted by ConstructionProblems
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 16, 2015 at 4:08 pm

The south/west side of the bridge poses significant problems for a ramp. There are private property right-of-way issues to the north (because of the narrowness of the sidewalk) and Santa Clara Water Authority issues to the south and west (the ramp likely needs to go over the creek).

The north/east side *could* be easier if we can balance the need for a reasonably priced bridge with certain environmental concerns on that side (e.g. where piers can be erected).

Additionally, notwithstanding the fact that there are plenty of examples of wood or other material bridges spanning similar distances, CalTran has the final say of what is allowed to be erected and what earthquake considerations must be met.

Having said that, some reasonable cooperation between all parties involved should be able to come up with a viable solution.

For those (of us) still interested in an arch bridge, here is a link to info about the Happy Hollow pedestrian bridge: Web Link. But as Private Parent noted, it spans a gorge and does not include ramps at either end.


10 people like this
Posted by Robert Neff
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm

From the city staff presentation, it looks like the focus will be on a structure more like the concrete box style found on the Steven's Creek trail over 85, or the Permanente Creek bridge over 101 in Mountain View. Also, there will probably be a center supporting column. The two leading design entries had full spans with no center support.

One complication for this location is that the total span includes not just 101, but also both frontage roads. There is little space for a support between 101 and East Bayshore, or West Bayshore. This is about 50% more span than the most of the bike/ped bridges used for comparison, and makes this one relatively expensive to build, even for a standard design.

When the design competition was proposed, it was seen as an approach that would yield a better design, while still staying within the budget and not costing a lot of time. Obviously, the budget math made some poor assumptions which are obvious in hindsight, but were not understood until after the end of the full competition. I'm glad to see city staff asking for a reset, with a "build it in budget" approach.


Like this comment
Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:13 pm

What is the actual span width, across the highway and the frontage roads?


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 17, 2015 at 2:05 am

Looked like 240 feet all the way across. Moffat & Nichol design I saw said 204-foot main span, to a support pier between southbound 101 lanes and West Bayshore frontage road lanes.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 17, 2015 at 2:11 am

Excuse me, Moffatt with two t's.

(Not to be confused with Admiral Moffett.)


5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2015 at 10:06 am

If there is not enough room for the bridge at Adobe Creek, how about building it at Greer Park instead? There is plenty of room at the park. This is already a popular family recreation spot, so having a family-friendly connection from here to the Baylands makes perfect sense. Families could easily bike to Greer Park from various Palo Alto neighborhoods using the Matadero Creek bike path that the city is already planning. There is already an entrance to the Baylands on the other side of the highway near Matadero Creek.


2 people like this
Posted by Please build this badly needed bridge quickly.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2015 at 11:27 am

We have been advocating for this for about 10 years now. VTA is providing much of the funding because it provides a year-round regional bike connection at a location in south Palo Alto where the need is very great. Those of us who bike for transportation and recreation have looked forward to getting off surface streets where we have to mix it up with cars on dark rainy nights. Matadero Creek is a less useful connection. Midtown has an existing year-round bike-pedestrian connector bridge at Oregon Expwy, though it could use improvement. South PA has none at all.

The substantial increase in population and density down here in south PA and Mountain View in the last eight years makes this a critical infrastructure piece. Please build it ASAP!


5 people like this
Posted by Yup
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2015 at 4:08 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2015 at 4:22 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Web Link

Note the time needed to actually fit this prebuilt bridge over BUSY U.S. 6.

Also the clear span length. This RTD Light Rail bridge has to have mostly flat approaches and could accommodate pedestrian and bicyclist traffic. No center support needed and only 1 highway delay to put it up.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 17, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 12, 2015 at 11:11 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
The City Council should adopt these basic principles regarding this project:
1 - It must serve the functional need as of pedeestrian and bicycle bridge over 101
2 - It must be completed within 24 months
3 - It must be economical
4 -It cannot be ugly but it need not be beautiful

*******
Here is a great example - Pierce County Washington just had a glulam wood bridge completed. The bridge is 20’ wide by 400’ long and the price for design, supply, delivery, and install was under 2 million dollars. It took 7 weeks to design/detail, 14 weeks for fabrication, 3 days for shipping, and about 8 weeks for installation.

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by JS
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2015 at 10:56 am

BigR Bridges of Greeley Colorado makes pre-fab pedestrian bridges of many different types. There are also other pre-fab bridge manufacturers that should be investigated before going with a custom designed built-in-place bridge.

The City of Palo Alto decision makers are too enamored with their own reflections to be so practical.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 18, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Speaking of duly doing the homework, has anybody checked Caltrans' requirements for new wood bridges over their roads?


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

California's Highway Design Manual states:

"805.2 Bridge Preliminary Report
A Bridge Preliminary Report will be prepared by Structures Design, in the Division of Engineering Services and submitted to the California FHWA Division Office in Sacramento for approval of unusual bridges and structures."
"An unusual bridge involves difficult or unique foundation problems, new or complex designs involving unique design or operational features, longer than normal spans or bridges for which the design procedures depart from current acceptable practice. Examples include cable stayed, suspension, arch, segmental concrete bridges, trusses and other bridges which DEVIATE from AASHTO Standard Specifications or Guide Specifications for Highway Bridges,"

Glulam wood bridges such as I have proposed MEET AASHTO Standard Specifications or Guide Specifications for Highway Bridges so this is not an issue.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 19, 2015 at 6:42 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by PAmoderate
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm

PAmoderate is a registered user.

"Please close the San Antonio Road bridge over Hwy to cars and let pedestrians and bicyclists use that until a separate bridge is built."

Please close the California Ave underpass to bicyclists until they learn to read signs and walk their bikes. It is unsafe for pedestrians as bikers try to rush by.

"Oregon Expressway or Rengstorff are just a minute away for cars, but an hour detour for a pedestrian."

It's only a minute for bikers to cross on Churchill or Oregon Expressway, but an hour detour for a pedestrian.

(A minute? You must be a heck of a driver and love running red lights and stop signs. I'll make sure to stay out of your way when you drive.)

"This process is dragging out because none of the city council walk this route. Putting some real pressure on them should encourage them to finish the project. Thank you."

Because it's only a minority of Palo Altans that actually will use this bridge. Maybe we should make it a tollway so that it gets paid by the folks that want to use it.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 19, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Asked and answered:

Glutamate wood bridges MEET AASHTO Standard Specifications or Guide Specifications for Highway Bridges


Like this comment
Posted by Gluten-free
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2015 at 8:38 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 19, 2015 at 8:58 pm

"Glutamate wood bridges MEET AASHTO Standard Specifications or Guide Specifications for Highway Bridges"

Oh yeah? Well, glutamate wood bridges DO NOT MEET AASHTO Standard Specifications or Guide Specifications for Highway Bridges. Nor BBTIUP Standards, or any other string of capital letters standards.

Get real and give it up. A wood bridge will not be put there. Period.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 19, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Please read the prior postings:

Web Link


'The bridge was analyzed as a three-dimensional structure using SAP2000, and the design conforms to the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specification."

THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS

This is a much better source than is a local poster who simply does not do his homework.


3 people like this
Posted by TK
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 20, 2015 at 11:26 am

Peter,

All of the example bridges you provided are straight and on grade, but proposed bike bridge over US 101 needs elevated approach from east/west bayshore road to provide sufficient clearance over US 101. The approaches will also need curbed segment to connect to the segment crossing US 101. The approach section would have to be approximately 400 ft long to meet the ADA (slope<5%) and the highway clearance requirements (15 to 18 ft). The total length of the bridge would have to be approximately 1,100 ft (or longer) with 2 turns/curves.

Therefore, cost of the single-span, straight, 400 ft-long bridge would not be applicable to the proposed bike bridge over US 101. Cost adjustment is needed to include the missing components.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 20, 2015 at 11:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Adding the two curves and additional lenghth could bring the total installed cost to about $4 million - a huge savings from the $17 million icon.

And getting a firm cost estimate would simply require the City to provide the desired dimensions in an RFP and then request fixed cost proposals as per the above posting:

"2 - Using the data produced to date develop a simple RFP that requires commitment to a fixed price
3 - Solicit a diversity of responses from that RFP
4 - Select the best response which properly balances total cost with other features such as appearance and life cycle cost
5 - Build the darn bridge"

What is so hard about letting potential suppliers bear the cost of preparing proposals?


4 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 20, 2015 at 1:51 pm

"THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS"

Don't forget Architectural Digest.

For actually relevant information, I recommend the Journal of Bridge Engineering, a peer-reviewed professional publication of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

"This is a much better source than is a local poster who simply does not do his homework."

IMHO, nobody on this thread is doing useful homework.


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 20, 2015 at 2:23 pm

It would be great if a Registered Engineer posted some relevant research on this topic.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Journal of Structural Engineering

<Previous Article
Volume 113, Issue 7 (July 1987)
Next Article >
A+ A- A= Print
Abstract References Complete PDF (1,343 KB) Cited By
Gutkowski, R. and McCutcheon, W. (1987). "Comparative Performance of Timber Bridges." J. Struct. Eng., 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9445(1987)113:7(1468), 1468-1486.
TECHNICAL PAPERS
Comparative Performance of Timber Bridges

Article History
Published: 01 July 1987
Publication Data
ISSN (print): 0733-9445
ISSN (online): 1943-541X
Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineers
Richard M. Gutkowski1 and William J. McCutcheon, Members, ASCE2
1Chmn., ASCE Committee on Timber Bridges; Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523
2Engr., Engineered Wood Struct., Forest Products Lab., Forest Service, U.S. Dept. of Agr., One Gifford Pinchot Dr., Madison, WI 53705‐2398
Eighteen timber bridges built in the late 1960s and early 1970s are inspected to determine the performance of their various components. In general, the bridges are in excellent structural condition. Glulam decks provide effective “roofs” over stringers as shown by relatively low moisture content readings in the stringers. The findings support the use of dry use design stresses for stringers but not for decks.


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

"It would be great if a Registered Engineer posted some relevant research on this topic."

Excellent realization, several postings late, but solid genuine progress. Why not hire one?


2 people like this
Posted by Stats
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

It will be interesting to see which one of these pedestrian bridges is completed first - the Adobe Creek bridge or the East Palo Alto 101 Overcrossing.
Web Link
The 101 Overcrossing would seem to have the advantage in that it doesn't have as many competing community constraints and demands. EPA is aiming for simple bridge that connects the city.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 21, 2015 at 11:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What a superb job East Palo Alto is doing in planning and buiding this bridge.

Note that creating an icon was way down their list of goals:

ï‚· Goal 1: Provide for a direct route over Hwy 101 at Clarke Avenue and Newell Road. Provide a direct connection between the south and north sides of Highway 101 near Clarke Avenue and Newell Road, one that limits out-of-direction travel for the majority of users.

ï‚· Goal 2: Maximize protection from vehicular traffic. Ensure a safe crossing of Highway 101 by maximizing separation from traffic, especially along East and West Bayshore roads.

ï‚· Goal 3. Design for a range of user groups and abilities. The project should accommodate the widest possible range of users and ability levels by exceeding, whenever feasible, minimum design standards established by Caltrans and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ï‚· Goal 4: Improve neighborhood accessibility. Include bicycle and pedestrian improvements beyond the bridge structure to ensure sufficient access to/from nearby destinations.

 Goal 5: Increase access to recreational facilities and community gathering space. As part of an overall “healthy communities” initiative, ensure that the bridge improves connections to the Bay Trail, YMCA, and other recreational and open space amenities. If feasible, integrate community gathering or play spaces into the project’s site design.

Goal 6: Design the bridge as a community gateway or civic monument. The overcrossing should enhance the image of the community through high quality design and potential gateway features/elements.

Goal 7: Ensure compatibility with existing and proposed land uses. Seek to minimize negative impacts on private property, residential neighborhoods and area businesses. Design the overcrossing to be compatible with future potential uses as well, including priority water storage and well facilities.

Goal 8: Be cost-effective and sustainable. Design the bridge with a “double bottom line” philosophy, one that achieves cost-effectiveness over the long term with consideration of life-cycle costs, including on-going maintenance, and climate action values/policies.



9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpentet
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 21, 2015 at 1:04 pm

I have had the experts cost this out using the EPA dimensions as a template and their projected total cost for design, fabrication and installation of a glulam bridge is less than $3 million and a total time from receiving an order to completion of 11 months.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 21, 2015 at 4:26 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by PA Native
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Belmont built a nice bridge four years ago for 7.9 million. Web Link
Let's do something similar soon.


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm

"I have had the experts cost this out..."

Likewise, and my experts strongly disagree with your experts, especially regarding construction costs, the expense of maintenance, structural longevity, and periodic replacement outlays. Poststressed reinforced concrete wins in all categories.


Like this comment
Posted by bradcoin
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 21, 2015 at 11:33 pm

I agree


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 22, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"ask a man who owns one" - and who paid for it out of his own pocket after carefully researching the alternatives.

Web Link

Less than half the cost of a prestressed concrete bridge and took 1/3 as long to build as would a prestressed concrete bridge.

Made from renewable resources.

Will take a full flood overtopping side load without failure.

And has skid proof deck treads:

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Jon Bitelho
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 24, 2015 at 10:26 am

Peter Carpenter must be a salesperson for wood glulam.
Wood and glue, no matter how high-tech, will deteriorate in the sun and rain faster than steel and concrete. Future repairs would involve Caltrans and impact traffic on highway 101. The Alma Bike Bridge over San Fransquito creek is a good example of a low-maintenance, lightweight concrete deck and self-weathering (i.e., rusty looking) steel structure. It also won an Architectural Review Board design award. We need something long-lasting and easy to maintain, given that there is likely little to no maintenance budget, and repairs would need to be cleared by Caltrans because of the potential impacts to 101.


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 24, 2015 at 10:33 am

"ask a man who owns one" - and who paid for it out of his own pocket after carefully researching the alternatives."

Cute little bridglet, allright, but we're crossing a major multilane highway here, not a babbling little brook.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 24, 2015 at 10:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fot hose who issed it the first three times it was posted here is a 240 ft clear span wood bridge:

Web Link

"Designed and fabricated by Western Wood Structures, the Placer River pedestrian bridge is a 280-foot camelback truss bridge believed to be the longest clear-span glulam timber truss bridge in North America. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the bridge is the latest addition to the U.S. Forest Service's Whistle Stop Railroad project, a unique summertime travel experience created in partnership with the Alaska Railroad that takes visitors into the heart of the Chugach National Forest.

Due to its proximity to Spencer Glacier, the bridge needed to be constructed high enough to eliminate potential collisions with icebergs; additionally, ice floes in the river would make protection of interior piers difficult. These requirements resulted in a height of 25 feet above the water line with a clear span of 280 feet.

In addition to a 90-psf pedestrian load, the bridge will face numerous other stresses due to its location—most notably wind gusts up to 120 mph, 200-psf ground snow load, flooding potential, and high seismic events. Lateral loads due to wind and seismic events are resisted by both vertical portal frames at each truss panel point and horizontal chevron bracing in the planes of the top and bottom chords. The bridge was analyzed as a three-dimensional structure using SAP2000, and the design conforms to the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specification."


1 person likes this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 24, 2015 at 11:19 am


I really have no problem with any kind of bridge that will do the job here,
that can be constructed and/or put in place quickly and safely ... but I have
to admit, my first sight of PC's wooden bridge reminded me of the train
trestles of the post pioneers days.

That bridge was also constructed in place, see the pictures. I am not sure
I can imagine that being done over steady 101 traffic for what would
probably take quite a while.

From the link above:

Web Link

It is a heavy bulky structure that looks huge from outside it, and I cannot
imagine the view is anything but blocked from the inside. I am reminded
of driving across the old bulky steel Carquinez Straits Bridge built in the 20's,
pictured here where Interstate 80 begins on the way north from the Bay Area:

Web Link

Now, that was a pretty spectacular view that was blocked by all the
supporting members of the bridge.

Yes, I suppose this will do the job, but it does look like it should have an
old smoke belching black iron locomotive chugging across it, doesn't it?
I don't really need "iconic", but this is sort of "anti-iconic" a remnant of
iron age design, done in wood, for the information age? On second
thought that does sound iconic of Palo Alto. ;-)

Carquinez Bridge:

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Barron Park resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 24, 2015 at 11:31 am

Just copy the bike bridge in Cupertino near 85 and 280!


2 people like this
Posted by Sammy
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 24, 2015 at 11:42 am

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 24, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Once again, Diana Diamond of the Mercury News has written an intelligent op-ed piece about this latest fiasco, see Web Link

She points out that by restarting the process, "even a plain bridge could eventually cost $13 million to $17 million, which would require raising more money".


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"That bridge was also constructed in place"

This particular bridge was constructed in place simply because there was no road traffic beneath it and its very isolated Alaska location made moving larger prefabricated parts uneconomical.

Most prefabricated glulam bridges are fabricated offsite and then are placed on already constructed foundations - a process that takes hours not weeks or months or years (as we have seen with the creek bridge under 101).

"Several recent assessments have shown that properly detailed, fabricated and treated
timber bridges remain in excellent condition for up to 75 years. (Wacker et al. 2014)
A notable example of a long lasting timber bridge is the Keystone Wye bridge on an
interchange on US Highway 16 in South Dakota, near Mount Rushmore. This bridge
was completed in 1968. Recent inspections have determined that this bridge is
performing exceptionally well and will continue to do so for many years to come."


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 24, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is a great time lapse video of how this prefabricated bridges are put in place:

Web Link

Note that there was nothing placed under the freespan to do the installation.


2 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:06 am

Did this subject get talked upside down in the discussion of wood bridges and expire?
Seriously, what is going to happen with the bike bridge to the Baylands idea?
Can we get another article ... and update please?
And stick to the point ... what we can do to get this speeded up?


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 10, 2016 at 9:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"what we can do to get this speeded up?"

1 - Don't try to build an icon
2 - Establish the basic specifications and prepare an RFP
3 - Solicit a broad range of responses to that RFP
4 - Negotiate a firm contract with regards to both total cost and completion date


2 people like this
Posted by wonder material
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm

This bridge will probably come before Fiber to the Home or Underground Electrical Wires. But I'm not holding my breath.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 15, 2016 at 9:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is a beautiful bridge that could be built in less than six months and for less than $3.5 million:

Web Link

I certainly think it is as iconic as the abandoned $17 million design and for 20% of the cost.

Please Council prepare an RFP and put this bridge out for bid and then do a fixed price , fixed schedule contract.


Like this comment
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 16, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Peter, [portion removed]

One thing I would like to know about your proposal here, is
how much of an earthquake stress can it it take under what
circumstances and how was that computed.

I personally like the simple bridges like we have all over this
area and that would be supported in the middle of the span
on the 101 median because I think it would be more stable
in an earthquake.

The other suggestions for wooden bridges you have made
I don't like because outwardly they look like old train
trestles and would be ugly looking out from path.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 16, 2016 at 8:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"One thing I would like to know about your proposal here, is
how much of an earthquake stress can it it take under what
circumstances and how was that computed."

For those who issed it the first four times it was posted here is a 240 ft clear span wood bridge:

Web Link

"Designed and fabricated by Western Wood Structures, the Placer River pedestrian bridge is a 280-foot camelback truss bridge believed to be the longest clear-span glulam timber truss bridge in North America. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the bridge is the latest addition to the U.S. Forest Service's Whistle Stop Railroad project, a unique summertime travel experience created in partnership with the Alaska Railroad that takes visitors into the heart of the Chugach National Forest.

Due to its proximity to Spencer Glacier, the bridge needed to be constructed high enough to eliminate potential collisions with icebergs; additionally, ice floes in the river would make protection of interior piers difficult. These requirements resulted in a height of 25 feet above the water line with a clear span of 280 feet.

In addition to a 90-psf pedestrian load, the bridge will face numerous other stresses due to its locationâ€"most notably wind gusts up to 120 mph, 200-psf ground snow load, flooding potential, and high seismic events. Lateral loads due to wind and seismic events are resisted by both vertical portal frames at each truss panel point and horizontal chevron bracing in the planes of the top and bottom chords. The bridge was analyzed as a three-dimensional structure using SAP2000, and the design conforms to the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specification."


4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:04 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Biggs Cardosa, the company currently working on planning for the Adobe Creek Bridge Project, is presenting their preliminary bridge options to the City of Palo Alto today.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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