In 1995, the mayor of New Haven launched a citywide school construction program to renovate most of New Haven’s schools. This renovation included a pedestrian bridge over Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, a busy four-lane state route, for the Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School. The overpass connects the school to a new nature center located adjacent to West River Memorial Park. A Continental® Gateway® style truss was chosen for the skywalk and was painted with epoxy primer and polyurethane topcoat.
“This intersection and corridor are a major gateway into the city, and the bridge helps increase the gateway effect” said Paul Larocque of David Thompson Architects.
The 138-ton structure was installed in two phases. The first two shorter sections of the truss were installed in May 2006. The second phase began on the night of July 10, 2006 and it was a community event, complete with bleachers for spectators. Traffic was shut down for four hours while the middle span of the skywalk was rotated, lifted, lowered and placed slowly onto the pillars by two cranes.
“The trickiest part of this job is that the design engineer and architect wanted the window frames, paneling skin and roof installed on the 129-foot center span prior to erecting it” states Greg Paquin, Vice President of Construction for Stamford Wrecking Company. “This approach offered cost savings to the project because the subcontractors installing the finishing building elements would not have to work at night and close traffic lanes”