The Cincinnati Zoo - the second oldest Zoo in the United States - recently redesigned the Zoo entrance in order to alleviate traffic congestion, increase the number of parking spaces and make room for more animals. The entrance is now back in its original location from when the Zoo first opened in 1875.
With the majority of the parking lots now situated directly across from the new entrance, a safe overpass for pedestrians became a necessity. Not only would the structure be heavily trafficked by pedestrians, but it also needed to meet multi-jurisdictional code checks, span over 100 feet and fit in with the neo-Victorian aesthetics of the surrounding Zoo. In addition, the bridge needed to be installed over difficult terrain in a heavily trafficked area in a short period of time.
To meet the project challenges, M-E Companies provided a 12’ x 130’ Continental® Connector® style steel truss bridge. The final structure was installed in just over three hours and provided pedestrians with a safe, aesthetically pleasing crossing from the parking lots to the Zoo entrance.
“In addition to being good looking,” states Jeffrey B. Koehn, PE, of M-E Companies,“ the bridge has a recycled steel content of 60%, which supports the Zoo’s commitment to sustainable design.”
This “green” design of the bridge continued into other portions of the newly planned entrance and made the Cincinnati Zoo the second LEED Platinum certified Zoo in the country. The LEED Green Building Rating System emphasizes state of the art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
In addition to the recycled material used in the bridge, buildings in the entrance area are also 60% more energy-efficient due to the use of solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, a solar water heating system and more. Rainwater will be managed to avoid runoff through the use of over 30,000 square feet of pervious pavers and a rainwater harvesting tank.
“The professionals at Contech worked closely with the design team to provide design options that met the aesthetic and economic requirements of the new entrance to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden,” adds Koehn. “Contech’s representative was actively involved in all aspects of the process and was there for the bridge erection. I can’t say enough about the service that we received from Contech. We look forward to building more bridges with them.”