Face it, lawyers use phrases and legal-ese that only they can understand, and the same holds true for engineers and their plans. I’ve seen enough plan sets to last a lifetime and I still struggle with visualizing what I’m looking at and more importantly what it will actually look like at the end of the project. Reading engineering drawings is like taking those tests where they show you a box and ask you what it would like like if you turned it inside out and upside down, and then looked at it in a mirror. Yeah right. My lack of what the testers call geo-spatial reasoning makes me really appreciate good old fashioned renderings that give the spatially challenged among us a chance to see something. With that in mind our City Engineer saw my shortcoming and offered up three renderings of the future Fairchild Avenue Bridge that I thought I’d share.
First off, let’s start with the original bridge concept drawing which is actually better than most engineering plans. This drawing uses some color and tries to give you a sense of perspective which most plan sets typically could care less about. So here’s a not so bad plan view of the new bridge which gives a good sense of the extent of the project — as you can see it’s much more than just a bridge. It’s a lot of new linear parks (in green) and road treatments (in red) that help it be more of a neighborhood asset rather than just a way to cut through town.
That sense of neighborhood-ness was really important in the design of the project and our City Engineer reported last week in Council that he thinks it is the most neighborhood-friendly bridge project that ODOT has ever done. So while it’s taken awhile to get this project out of the design phase, Kent’s persistence seems to have paid off.
As you can see in the series of renderings below the project is really going to transform the whole area around the bridge to make it a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
This rendering comes from standing on the new Portage Hike and Bike path south of the new bridge looking upstream with SR 43 just up the hill on the other side of the tiered plantings to our left. For reference purposes that’s the new bridge in light sandstone in the upper-right with a bike tunnel going through it.
This image is taken standing on the new pedestrian bridge that replaces the existing bridge (again looking north/upstream) that will connect downtown section of the Portage Hike and Bike trail to the new segment that will run through the rail yards behind Lake Street east up to Towner’s Woods.
And lastly, this is a view of the future intersection of Crain Avenue and Lake Street looking west to the new Fairchild Bridge on the right. The woman walking the dog is on Lake Street, with Crain Avenue in brick on her left, looking down S. Water Street towards the Mill. This view gives you a good sense of how the bridge relocation attempts to route traffic down Water Street through the commercial district rather than through the neighborhoods off of Crain. The brick is a nice touch to help delineate the Crain Avenue neighborhood.
The City Engineer has been very busy trying to wrap the design issues and work with ODOT’s consultant on right of way acquisition for the project. To create the linear parks and provide enough room to widen the roads heading into and out of the bridge, a number of buildings will be removed. I hate to do it to you but the best I can offer at the moment is an engineering drawing that shows which properties are affected by the bridge project.
Bear in mind though that some of the areas shown below as being affected are only temporary construction easments so not all of these properties are permanently affected. Engineering didn’t have a user-friendly map of the permanent property impacts so we’ll have to settle for a map that shows both temporary and permanent impacts for now, sorry.
The best way to stay current on the project status is to periodically visit the project web site on the City’s Capital Project Page.
This is going to be a challenging project to pull off but hopefull seeing the end result should make us all a little more patient with the temporary inconveniences.