Beehive Bridge
New Britain, Conn.
Award of Merit

Owner: City of New Britain
Lead Design Firm: Svigals + Partners
General Contractor: Martin Laviero Contractors
Civil/Structural/MEP Engineer: Fuss & O’Neill
Landscape Architect: Richter & Cegan  
Lighting Designer: Atelier Ten

Embodying New Britain’s history and promising future, the 265-ft-long pedestrian overpass reunites neighborhoods long separated by an urban roadway. Inspired by a honeybee’s flight pattern, twin undulating steel and aluminum sculptural enclosures form a sinuous curve, while gold and yellow translucent panels in an abstract honeycomb motif produce a variety of patterns and colors. Four 13-ft stainless steel bee sculptures bookend the $7.5-million bridge, while a 12-ft hive structure adapted from New Britain’s city seal anchors its center. Parametric modeling proved essential in shaping the bridge’s design and geometric details. 

The availability of precision digital files reduced development time for fabrication engineers, ultimately lowering the project’s cost and ensuring a smooth construction process on the 16-month project. For example, the pedestrian enclosure required construction tolerances of less than 1/8 in. vertically and horizontally to ensure that the framework, built off site, could be quickly reassembled on the bridge with all bolt holes in alignment. 

Below the bridge, what was previously an imposing five-lane roadway has been reinvented with reduced lanes, expanded sidewalks, large planters and bike lanes. Parks at the north end of the bridge further enhance the revitalized corridor. Internal energy-efficient and programmable LED illumination allow for an attractive nighttime glow that can vary with the seasons, holidays and special events.

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