On Top of the Situation

Seventy feet above the water and spanning 180 feet, the pedestrian skybridge over Presque Isle Bay was an instant landmark. Connecting the new Bayfront Convention Center and Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, in Erie, Pennsylvania, the bridge required two months to assemble onsite–but only three hours to set in place!

Preparation was thorough, but concealed.

This was deemed “a critical lift” – in that it was accomplished with two cranes and performed over an open, public, navigable waterway. The permit list seemed endless, including two divisions of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, the US Coast Guard and the US Border Patrol. In addition to the design documents and all other permits and approvals, the Coast Guard requested water-quality certification, endangered species information, historical data on the two sites along with National Historical Society approval, and a 30-day public notice. The land on either end of the bridge is owned by separate public entities, which further complicated the permitting process.

It took Barton Malow Company as CM, Barton Malow Design as project architect, and Urban Engineers as civil designer to gather everything together. The permit was received just four days prior to the lift!

Extra care, pre-planning, and coordination were paramount in achieving a successful lift. The Critical Lift Plan required numerous studies and team meetings to finalize crane locations, weight distribution, rigging, and safe working distance from the seawalls.