LEWIS EATON BRIDGE
San Joaquin, CA
Designed in conjunction with 2M Associates as the signature landmark for the San Joaquin River Parkway, the Lewis S. Eaton Pedestrian Bridge harmoniously spans the San Joaquin River, providing transportation, recreation, and educational opportunities for its users. Visible from the bluff tops of Fresno and Madera Counties and from Highway 41, and designed to protect existing native plant species while accommodating the river’s natural historic flood patterns, the trail bridge offers a grand gesture to the parkway. The bridge uses a cable-stayed form that minimizes the impact on the west bank, contains the foundation to a minimal footprint, and minimizes the cost of the 430-foot span. Cables draping over the tower splay to support both the primary span and the approach deck while also providing a sense of enclosure. Guardrails wrap up from the structure below to further sculpt the space. The deck widens closer to the center of the river, providing a viewing area that does not interfere with pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The deck meets two sweeping pedestrian ramps beneath the concrete tower to create a “gateway” to the river views. As the ramps curve around the tower and lightly touch down on the earth, a small gathering place is formed in its shade.