Crestwood Crossing Pedestrian Bridge Install

Progress continues at the Crestwood Crossing work site. On Friday, September 16 that included the placement of a new pedestrian bridge over a branch of Gravois Creek. This 130’ bridge will provide access between the new development and Grants Trail.

As part of the negotiated Redevelopment Agreement, the City of Crestwood required that Dierbergs design, engineer, install, and fund this connector bridge and pathway. The slope on this part of the property is extreme so plenty of thought and engineering was required to design a path that scaled the difference in elevation while keeping it walkable and bikeable.

The 47-acre parcel that makes up the Crestwood Crossing Development actually has a “fingerlike” extension that crosses the creek and connects to the Watson Industrial Park Drive. The city owns the parcel directly across the street where the Public Works garage is located.

When the Public Works facility was moved to this site in 2017, city leaders at that time had the foresight to see this potential trail connection and added a public parking lot with a path connecting to Grant’s Trail. This access lines up perfectly with the new pedestrian bridge and its planned trail to provide easy connectivity.

On Friday, the prefabricated bridge arrived from Minnesota in two long pieces around 9:30 in the morning. A heavy-duty crane also arrived and started its several-hour-long task of setting up the site. Local iron workers spent the entire day hoisting and nudging the two bridge pieces into the correct position and bolting them together. Even the process of tightening the bolts took hours as that precise torque measurements were required for each bolt.

Finally, around 5:00 pm, the 48,000-pound bridge was ready to be moved into place. The crane lifted it about 6 feet off the ground, the iron workers were all in place (including two on the other side of Gravois Creek) and suddenly the crane’s massive diesel engines sputtered and stopped running. The operator tried to restart the engines, but no luck.

So - it’s after 5:00 pm on a Friday night… the bridge is hanging 6 feet above the ground and a very expensive crane is not running. Workers scrambled to try a quick repair, but after another 15 minutes passed it was clear that a mechanic was needed. The on-call mechanic arrived about an hour later and spent time climbing up and down on a ladder while working on the engine. Many attempts to start the crane failed, but finally around 7:00 pm the mechanic got it started again and everyone moved back into position. During all of this downtime, at least one iron worker had to physically hold onto the suspended bridge to keep it from swaying.

Sunset had just occurred, so there were only minutes of twilight left to get the bridge installed before it was dark. This time without any issues, the crane operator carefully placed the bridge onto the previously installed concrete footings as the workers aligned the predrilled holes in the bridge over bolts in the concrete. It fit perfectly and after another bolt tightening exercise, work was completed for the day. Whew!

It amazes me how much work and thought goes into a project like this. Two separate concrete footings were poured. One on each side of the creek and the bolts in those footings had to be precisely in the right place – 130’ apart from each other at exactly the right elevations. Even to get those footings installed, a temporary access road was constructed on the west side and a temporary parking lot and staging area was installed on the east side. The bridge arrived via two semi-trucks, and the crane arrived via six more. And this is just a very small part of the entire Crestwood Crossing project.

Clearly this bridge is not ready for pedestrian access and will probably be fenced to keep people away. A 6-inch layer of concrete will eventually be poured across the bridge and new trails will be installed. However, I don’t expect all of that to be open to the public until mid-to-late 2023.

Pictures and a video of the bridge placement are below for your enjoyment.