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McHenry Riverwalk

McHenry, Illinois



City of McHenry


SEC Group, Inc. (Smith Engineering Group)


Alliance Contractors, Inc.


November 2006

To help revitalize the downtown area, McHenry city officials decided to develop a riverwalk. In the first phase of the project, a pedestrian bridge was needed to span a waterway and connect two downtown areas.

Smith Engineering worked closely with Contech to design a customized Archway ® style truss bridge that was more efficient and still had great eye appeal. The Continental Pedestrian Bridge bridge was designed as a thrust arch, a structure with no bottom chord. With this type of bridge, the abutment is responsible for resisting the full axial load imposed by the arch. In addition to designing the bridge footings to handle the thrust arch, Smith Engineering also adjusted the elevation of the riverwalk to preserve a 10-ft. clearance between the bridge and the creek.

“Now that people are seeing and using the riverwalk, it turned out better than we had hoped for” says Bill Hobson, Assistant City Manager. “Without a doubt the bridge is the defining element of the riverwalk”

Several design details enhance the visual appeal of the bridge. The ornate railing matches the ironwork used on the riverside condominiums, setting the theme for the whole project. The antique style street lamps on the bridge add to the charm, but it’s the Tivoli lighting outlining the arch at night that has drawn many favorable comments. The truss bridge is painted black with a red stained concrete deck and can be seen from over 900’ away.

Technical Description:

  • Width: 8-ft.
  • Span: 144-ft.
  • Style: Archway®
  • Finish: Painted
  • Decking: Concrete

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