A STEP ABOVE

By Shireen Ghorbani, communications specialist, Facilities Management

A new elevated walkway opens Aug, 21, connecting pedestrians on campus to the Rio Tinto Kennecott Mechanical Engineering Building on the west side of North Campus Drive.

The path is fully accessible to people with disabilities, and it offers pedestrians an alternative to the often-congested and sometimes difficult-to-cross intersection at the corner of 100 South as it turns into North Campus Drive. The existing diagonal crosswalk located at the intersection of 100 South and North Campus Drive will see less pedestrian traffic, and the crosswalk at Federal Way will be completely eliminated.

The bridge is an asset to mass transit users on the north side of campus who need accessible access to the only bus stop (aside from the hospital) that services those who need to travel downtown.

Ramped pathways and a staircase will lead up to the elevated walkway on the east side of the bridge. Crossing the walkway and entering the Kennecott building, pedestrians will find themselves in an enclosed staircase with access to an elevator into the building.

Along with the installation of the walkway, significant improvements have been made to the bus stop on the west side of North Campus Drive. A new bus shelter offers transit riders better protection from the elements, and roadway changes allow for a bus pullout stop—a lane slightly removed from the flow of traffic—designed to improve traffic flow. Additionally, the elevated walkway and surrounding sidewalks have an integrated snowmelt system, preventing snow buildup during the winter season.

“It is fitting that this structure is connected to an engineering building because it stands as a testament to how engineering knowledge can create something that is both practical and beautiful, light, yet strong, and that illustrates how connections can be made to both bring people together and keep them safe,” said Michael Kay, assistant dean for Budget and Facilities. “This structure has provided an important ‘missing link’ to campus.”