vansicek wrote:This may seem like a dumb question, but I'll ask it anyways. Has anyone noticed that the new pedestrian bridge does not look like the renderings at all? The latest renderings showed a huge arch as the main support. If you look at it right now it has large columns sticking into the air instead. Did I just miss something or what?
Biz Buzz: Lawyers shoot for Des Moines Riverwalk soapbox
LYNN HICKS & DAVID ELBERT Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ firstname.lastname@example.org Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ September 16, 2008
That's the dream of the Iowa National Bar Association, a group of minority lawyers. The group is trying to raise $1 million to build a speakers platform on the downtown Riverwalk. The idea is the brainchild of Polk County District Judge Odell McGhee.
"We want to make Des Moines the Hyde Park of the United States," McGhee said, referring to the London park and its speakers corner. He envisions a gathering spot where anyone could stand up and express opinions, "even if the KKK wanted to go there ... anybody could go there to play a flute, debate, yell back and forth," he said.
This wouldn't be an average soapbox. The project would also be a memorial to the founders of the National Bar Association. The group, now based in Washington, D.C., was started in Des Moines in 1925 when the American Bar Association refused to admit African-American lawyers.
'Postcard' Bridge Taking Shape
September 21, 2008--The Principal Riverwalk project continues to take shape along the Des Moines River downtown. But lately a lot of the attention is focused on the different shapes rising out of the river itself.
The company that built two of the three blue arch pedestrian bridges over Interstate 235 is building another. "This one is different. It's a lot bigger -- 400 feet long versus 270. It's a lot taller -- 90 feet instead of 70 feet, and being over the water," said Robert Cramer, co-president of Cramer & Associates, the company behind the project.
The giant suspension bridge over the Des Moines River will be the showpiece of the Principal Riverwalk, but it's already turning heads. "I had no idea they were putting in another pedestrian bridge down there," said downtown worker Jennifer Howard.
By next spring the skeleton of scrap steel will be replaced with an eye-catching, postcard-producing, come visit Des Moines-inspiring, piece of engineering excellence.
"It's kind of a steel arch going from one bank of the river to the other, then it's got cables on each side of that arch, coming down and holding up the two decks," Cramer said. "You can walk curving this way or walk curving that way, and in the center there's a glass walkway so you can walk over and see the water underneath."
The steel on the arch and bridge decks will be painted white and there will be extensive lighting for after sunset. But as unique as the design is, the most interesting part is -- how do you build a 400-foot bridge with no support in the middle? "The strength comes from the arch, so that big steel arch is going to have a lot of forces on it compressing together, and kind of pushes out on these giant concrete abutments," Cramer said.
Each concrete block contains over 1,000 cubic yards of concrete, but before the blocks hold the bridge up, four steel towers will have to do the job. Each tower is anchored eight feet into the slate on the river bottom, positioned to hold the giant pieces of bridge that will be attached to the towers before they are welded together. Tugboats will push two cranes floating on barges that will do the heavy lifting, then the towers will be removed and the bridge will be left behind.
"(You) have to take a 3-D model to even figure out where the piece go, so it's creating a lot of odd angles they're trying to weld together. So a lot of problems detailing it and a lot problems welding it together," Cramer said.
An Indiana company constructing the bridge is behind, so instead of a mid-November grand opening, completion has been pushed back to early next spring.
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