iStock and ShutterstockOpened in 2011, the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge spans 168 meters, giving pedestrians safe passage over a busy thoroughfare, rail yard and trolley tracks. Part of the 3.2-kilometer Park-to-Bay Link, the bridge symbolizes San Diego’s nautical heritage while serving as the new southern gateway to the downtown area.
The graceful, single-cable self-anchored suspension bridge features a 40-meter pylon inclined at a dramatic, 60-degree angle over the bridge deck, which is suspended over just one side. The bridge’s streamlined design is a departure from the bulky suspender and main cables typical of traditional suspension bridges. Here, smooth, uninterrupted lines created by innovative design completely hide the large main cable.
Unique structural requirements
Designed by Safdie Rabines Architects, the Harbor Drive Bridge has a uniquely transparent profile. A 6-meter-wide deck is supported by 34 individual suspenders attached to the main cable.
The main cable, which is carried in a stainless steel welded pipe fabricated from Outokumpu plate, supports the bridge deck via tension cables through the pipe and heavy plate railing posts. The railing posts do double duty, alternately supporting the concrete deck and transferring radial force from the top of the railing to the deck.
Designed for sustainability
Corrosion resistance is essential for a bridge in a marine environment, particularly one marked by regular salt fog and infrequent heavy rain. Acknowledging its superior properties, the project’s designers chose stainless steel rather than painted steel, gaining long life with minimal maintenance.
For pedestrians, the Harbor Drive Bridge offers a unique opportunity to experience timeless design. The use of stainless steel as both a primary structural material and one delivering enduring beauty makes this an iconic landmark.