The Saint Louis Zoo is located on 90 acres in Forest Park and contains more than 24,000 animals and 700 different species. In 2010, the Zoo celebrated its 100th anniversary with a new Zootennial exhibit. In addition, changes were made to the Zoo’s south entrance that changed vehicle traffic, enhanced the aesthetic experience, and improved pedestrian safety.
The Zoo was determined to build a safer entrance after a sevenyear- old boy was killed by a drunk driver while visiting the Zoo during a field trip. A pedestrian bridge was needed to provide pedestrians safe passage across busy Wells Drive, from the south parking lot to the south Zoo entrance.
SWT Design, the landscape architect on the project, chose a custom-designed 12’ x 65’ Continental® fauxsuspension style truss bridge for the solution. A Continental structure was chosen over other options because of its cost effectiveness, ease of installation and the fact that it was fabricated offsite. This overpass solution was installed in late May 2010, and routed pedestrians from the parking lot to a landscaped-center pedestrian spine, that leads directly to the pedestrian bridge overpass and along a sloped walkway to the south Zoo entrance.
“We have worked with Contech on other park planning projects,” stated Klaus Rausch, designer with SWT Design. “We are very comfortable with their products and company, and wished to utilize them again.”
The entry-enhancing project was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Treasury, Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development and Related Appropriations Acts and by The Wachovia Foundation, a private foundation that provides grants to eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations.
Additionally, a boulder with a plaque was placed near the south Zoo entrance in memory of the seven-yearold boy.