The Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge will serve as a pedestrian gateway connecting America the Beautiful Park with downtown Colorado Springs.
By extending the east-west axis of Vermijo Avenue to the America the Beautiful Park, the new pedestrian bridge reconnects the urban fabric of downtown Colorado Springs, a plan that has been in development for decades. The bridge also stitches together a growing network of pedestrian bicycle paths including the Pikes Peak Greenway and Midland Trail running alongside Monument Creek.
Designed by the same team as the adjacent U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum complex, the new pedestrian bridge takes its inspiration from the gravity-defying motion of athletes, with a 250-foot curved steel structure that floats above the railyard. Two interlocked loops, stretching from either side of the railyard, connect the museum and the park.
DS+R Partner-in-Charge and Lead Designer Benjamin Gilmartin noted, “The bridge is an exercise in fitness - both in terms of material and geometry. The hybrid steel structure system functions as an arch and a truss, elegantly preserving views from Downtown to the majestic mountain ranges of Pike’s Peak.”
The bridge’s generous width safely accommodates people of all ages and abilities, on both bikes and on foot to enjoy a view to as well as access by stair and a glass elevator At its widest point, an oculus at either side of the bridge frames the museum and downtown to the east, or a platform for train spotting below and a distinct look out to Pikes Peak-America's Mountain to the west. In the evenings, lighting along the bridge will trace a single vector from one side of the tracks to the other, giving a sense of speed and motion while providing illumination for pedestrians and cyclists.
The prefabricated bridge was assembled in King Fabrication in Houston, Texas and a full fit up was conducted in May 2020 to ensure a continuous geometry. The bridge was delivered to the site in sections and assembled and welded together on the ground adjacent to the rail yard and fit out with an 8 ½ ”concrete walking surface, parapets, and architectural finishes. The entire 300- ton superstructure will be driven into place using self-propelled modular transporters to place the entire bridge on its abutments during an eight-hour window of time, to minimize outage for the rail lines and yard later this fall.
Vermijo was identified as a future ”Signature Street” for our downtown years ago. Streetscape renderings help visualize how this transformative project will begin to change the look and feel of southwest downtown.
The new format renders the street appropriate for both pedestrians and automobiles while offering the opportunity to host festivals and plaza-type events.
Heading from east to west, the streetscape for each block of Vermijo gradually builds momentum and complexity in design, ultimately culminating into a rich gathering place at the foot of the museum. Olympic Museum Plaza will serve as a gathering place and may accommodate public events.
Sierra Madre Street will also transform into a tree-lined streetscape that leads to the museum from the north.
The large-scale plan also includes completion of a modern pedestrian bridge that will connect America the Beautiful Park with downtown Colorado Springs, a goal that has been envisioned in the downtown master planA plan for the development of a portion of the city that contains proposed land uses, a generalized transportation system, and the relationship of the area included in the plan to surrounding property. for decades.
By combining pedestrian prioritized improvements, low impact development, smart technologies, effective stormwater management and an overall design that will draw people to the area, this will bring together elements that will make the an attract place for people to gather and enjoy a unique urban area in our downtown.
Extensive research into best practices of other major cities across the country went into develop of the overall design features by embracing a timeless design that is flexible enough to make this street sustainable for the next 50 or 100 years. While providing a very classic aesthetic, it will also be equipped to host temporary features and displays that can easily be updated or refreshed. In addition, the street will be ready for evolving smart technologies, from smart street lights to smart parking, kiosks and sensor-driven irrigation
Urban tree canopy and water quality
An innovative underground stormwater filtering system will capture and cleanse runoff to reduce flooding and water the trees. Once cleaned by this natural and sustainable system, the water will collect in an underground basin before flowing to Fountain Creek.
Streetscape features include:
- Granite walkway
- Street lighting
- Pedestrian promenade
- Integrated festival space
- Improvements for people on bikes, on foot and with mobility assist devices
Sierra Madre streetscape
Sierra Madre from Cimarron Road to Cucharras Street will be improved and will feature two travel lanes, bike lanes and parking on the east side
Vision of Southwest Downtown
The Vermijo signature street and pedestrian bridge that connects America the Beautiful Park to downtown is part of the Southwest Downtown Master Plan that strives to create an urban neighborhood which leverages the community’s investment in America the Beautiful Park and creates linkages to the downtown core. This plan is in accordance with the Downtown Action Plan and the Experience Downtown Master Plan.
Streetscape and pedestrian bridge timeline and construction milestones
- Summer 2019- Roadway, utility, water quality and drainage work on Vermijo Avenue begins
- Fall 2019 –Vermijo streetscape construction begins
- Winter 2019 – Pedestrian bridge construction begins
- June 2020 – Bridge steel arrives and on-site assembly begins
- The pedestrian bridge is constructed in segments and shipped to Colorado Springs where it will be assembled as a complete bridge on the ground.
- Late Summer 2020- Vermijo Streetscape complete
- Early 2021 – Pedestrian Bridge open to the public
Timing is subject to change and is weather and resource-dependent.
Infrastructure improvements in southwest downtown are funded in part through the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, Regional Tourism Act funding (RTA) granted by the successful City for Champions application, Colorado Springs Utilities.
The business improvement district, which was established in 2017 and funded through a self-imposed property mill levy within the district, will fund infrastructure improvement above and beyond the standard infrastructure such as grant walkways, street lighting and landscaping to create a unique look and feel in southwest downtown.
$ 3.6 million
Other District infrastructure:
$ 5.7 million
City for Champions Regional Tourism Authority
Colorado Springs Utilities
Other (Parking Enterprise, Downtown Development Authority, U.S. Olympic Museum Regional Tourism Authority
Media kit and resources
Below are available media resources related to Southwest downtown imporvements in Colorado Springs:
- Placement of Pedestrian Bridge
- Pedestrian Bridge Manufacturing
- Pedestrian Bridge on Ground Assembly
- Pedestrian Bridge Renderings
- Vermijo Ave. Renderings
- View videos of Bridge Placement (Includes drone and timelapse foootage)
Something big is coming to downtown Colorado Springs
Bridge section arrival video
Video credit: Air Boss Colorado