Lone Tree Pedestrian Bridge Grand Opening

Construction of the new pedestrian bridge in Lone Tree, Colorado, broke ground on September 29, 2016. Just over 20 months later, the 78-foot-tall, leaf-shaped mast structure and 170-foot-long pedestrian bridge is set to welcome the public, establishing an essential connection between the north and south sides of the expanding city. The $7 million project spans over a major thoroughfare that sees 89,000 cars a day, with the mast supporting six pairs of steel cables affixed to the bridge. “This project reflects a need for so many places across the country. From biking to walking, the design of cities must accommodate multi-modal movement. It’s the way of the future,” said Curt Fentress, founder of Fentress Architects. 

Community Collaboration

The success of the design was made possible through close collaboration with, and support from, the community. Multiple public presentations and a telephone town meeting with hundreds of Lone Tree residents resulted in an iconic design for the Lone Tree Pedestrian Bridge. 

Designing an Icon

When the City of Lone Tree concluded that they needed a pedestrian bridge, they challenged Fentress Architects to design an icon—something that would be symbolic of the City and the City’s ideals. Fentress’ design approach focused on a leaf form, creating a unique image of the City. Fentress aspired to create a landmark that would represent the community’s ambitions while acknowledging the site’s grand vista of the nearby Rocky Mountains. “Landmarks provide an opportunity to tie the community together,” said Curt Fentress, principal in charge of design.

Fentress’ vision was to balance steel’s efficiency with artistic form. Relying on its experience using cable and pylon geometry, Fentress created a leaf pylon that is essentially a three-dimensional lattice truss. Constructed of industry standard elements, its geometry translates stock materials into sculptural form. The 78-foot-tall, leaf-shaped mast structure rises on the south side of the long-span, cable-stayed bridge with six pairs of cables extending down to support the bridge deck. The bridge also connects the popular North Willow Creek Trail and a trail that connects to the East-West Regional Trail.

Sensitive Design Approach

A cable-stayed bridge is a highly efficient way to construct a medium- to long-span bridge. The reduced weight of the structure results in reduced cost of materials. The elegant structure creates a striking form while minimizing the impact on views to the Colorado mountains and downtown skyline. The design of the structural system allowed the bridge to be erected with only a weekend closure of Lincoln Avenue. Open mesh on the sides of the bridge protects bridge users and cars below, and an ETFE membrane roof provides protection from the elements. The roof is translucent to allow sunlight to illuminate the bridge during the day, and indirect lighting causes the roof to gently glow at night. Ramps on each end of the bridge allow easy access for those with disabilities, bicyclists, walkers, joggers and people pushing strollers.

Building a Safer Community

Lincoln Avenue is a busy thoroughfare, serving as many as 89,000 cars a day. The bridge enables pedestrians and bicyclists to cross over the road safely, and ensures a smoother traffic flow on Lincoln. Expected users of the bridge include local residents from Heritage Hills, RidgeGate, and Lincoln Commons, as well as students of the nearby Lone Tree Elementary School. Bicyclists traveling along the Willow Creek Green Belt can cross Lincoln on the bridge as well.

“We are proud of our design of this iconic landmark for the City of Lone Tree, and we are excited about how it will serve the community as well as being a beautiful structure,” said Curt Fentress. Fentress Architects, a Denver-based architecture firm, has helped shape the Denver and DTC skylines with projects such as Denver International Airport’s landside terminal, the Colorado Convention Center, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Charles Schwab Campus, 161 Inverness Drive West, Palazzo Verde, and One DTC. The Lone Tree Pedestrian Bridge will become a symbol of the City and will serve as a landmark for the City of Lone Tree for years to come.