As Everett continues to expand its waterfront—an effort that includes a 66-acre mixed-use development—decades of work to create pedestrian access to the waterfront from the upland Grand Avenue Park is poised for a successful conclusion this year after a collaboration between architects LMN and engineers KPFF.

The design team on the $19.3-million Grand Avenue Park Pedestrian Bridge project developed a pedestrian bridge that preserves views and minimizes interventions into the steep, 75-ft-tall hillside. LMN architects say that by deconstructing the elements of the project—functional, aesthetic and environmental—and reimagining the parts, the team created accessible pathways into a sloped truss and eliminated the need for an elevator.

Integrating vertical circulation above, around and within the truss, two ramps create a pathway, acting as switchbacks to reduce the grade change and frame a series of views to Whidbey Island, the waterfront and the Olympic Mountains. The ramps bring pedestrians through a sequence of spaces that include a cantilevered portion over a highway below and a section within the truss itself. Platforms along the path allow for views of the landscape.

Drawing inspiration from the railroad overpasses of old, the weathered steel truss of the bridge frame was strategically positioned to echo the ramp volumes and position over the active railway below, which also allowed for ease of installation. Stormwater overflow piping—a key component of the project—tucks beneath the pathway. The potential for a future water main crossing was also incorporated into the bridge design.

To create more of a design flair, expect custom-designed aluminum panels to serve as safety rails, light reflectors and a visual element. The panels feature a water jet-cut geometric pattern meant to remain minimal to facilitate views, while becoming denser when needed to better reflect pathway lighting. The geometric pattern repeats at the base of the tower where it is sandblasted into the concrete.

Along with Stephen Van Dyck, Mark LaVenture, Scott Crawford and Kyle Kiser from LMN and KPFF, the project team includes McMillen Jacobs Associates, Tres West Engineers, Stantec, HWA GeoSciences, The Greenbusch Group, Landau Associates, Ott Consultants, KBA and the City of Everett Parks & Recreation.

Expect the project to open in late 2018.

Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb