Gearing up for Fabrication

Gears removed from the historic South Park Bridge, now at Jesse Engineering in Tacoma awaiting cleaning.

I took a little road trip with Tim Lane and Barbara Grygutis last week.

Tim is an engineer with King County Road Services supervising the South Park Bridge Replacement Project. Barbara is a public artist who has contributed ideas to the bridge design, serving with the team since 2008. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, but was in town for our initial meeting with the fabricators of the mile of artful railings that will lend rhythm and narrative to the pedestrian and vehicular experience of crossing the new bridge.

Barbara’s design, being executed by Tacoma’s Jesse Engineering, exemplifies the historic and cultural integrity of the 1931 bridge. Curved pickets echo the motion of the Duwamish waterway underneath while magnificent gears and original cast iron rail panels will be embedded throughout the span.

Four rockers and guide tracks, originally obscured from view as they raised the bridge, will flank the approaches and create powerful visual gateways.  All elements will be painted metallic silver, reflective by day; the rockers will be dramatically lit at night.

Looking out from the old bridge to the new and down the Duwamish, as we visit the massive rockers and guide tracks that once opened the bascule span.