Fancy Footwork

Pedestrian bridges are going to cool new heights, turning the need to get from here to there into an adventure for Geometrica.

The concept of pedestrian bridges isn't new—Venice's Rialto Bridge dates back to 1588, and even the Brooklyn Bridge architects made room for walkways alongside the car lanes. But just recently, since around the turn of the millennium, we've rediscovered the notion that regular people are important enough to deserve some spectacular feats of engineering.

This latest generation of newly constructed or retrofitted pedestrian bridges — where cars are strictly off-limits — takes a number of forms. Some pedestrian bridges elevate the everyday business of getting from point A to point B. The most successful fall somewhere between spectacle and conduit because they blaze a path where no one felt the need for one before. 

The opportunity to design and manufacture pedestrian bridges for two USA clients was compelling and quite a departure from the mega domes that Geometrica typically designs. Each locale brought with it a unique set of challenges.    


US Route 29 Bridge: Columbia, MD, USA

Initially, the bridge over US Route 29 near Columbia, Maryland, was used for trains.   As residential and retail areas developed on either side of the highway, converting the bridge to let pedestrians cross safely without slowing down traffic just made better sense.  

The existing bridge had fencing, but modifications were needed to include a barrier for pedestrians.  Architect Mark Molen of AECOM designed a bridge cover that delivered on both scenic interest and safety for pedestrians and the traffic below.

Geometrica’s solution was an aluminum, single-layer structure finished with a polyester powder coat.  Standard base plates fix the structure onto the bridge’s existing bolts.

Mallie Court Bridge: Houston, TX, USA

The Mallie Court bridge in a suburban area of Houston, Texas creates a convenient above ground pathway connecting a home to a street without diminishing the beauty of the great outdoors.

The surrounding ecosystem was a focus and an inspiration. The serene environment influenced the design of the bridge while factoring in vulnerable root systems and a ravine prone to rising water. The load-bearing capacity of the home from which the bridge would be anchored was also a consideration, as well as the span to the opposite bank.

The property owner requested a bridge that would blend seamlessly across the ravine. Geometrica's solution was a lightweight (and extremely durable) metal bridge with wood planks. 

Mallie Court bridge - a beautiful new pathway across a ravine

Mallie Court bridge - a beautiful new pathway across a ravine

As the ideal landscaping feature, these footbridges link two distinct areas and are an investment that has increased in value and functionality. Special care was taken during the design and installation to ensure the structures would stand the test of time.

Both of the structures were designed and manufactured at Geometrica's facility in Mexico. The individual tubular members and hubs were then barcoded, packaged and delivered to the project site. The majority of the structures were first assembled at local warehouses and later transported to site for quick installation.

Using our proprietary system, Geometrica’s engineers and designers create a dazzling variety of shapes and patterns, all capitalizing on the inherent strength of triangular lattices.  Triangular shapes are unsurpassed for transferring stresses efficiently with little to no bending moments — far more stable and far stronger than 90-degree frames.

The resulting pedestrian bridges are both functional and beautiful works of art — a harmony of geometry and metal that complement the landscape and make big impressions. But above all, they reward us for taking a new path, whether on foot or two wheels.

Geometrica, Inc.