John K. Van de Kamp Bridge
The John K. Van de Kamp Bridge Seismic Retrofit and Rehabilitation Project is the winner of a 2018 Preservation Design Award. Award recipients are selected by a jury of top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, and history, as well as renowned architecture critics and journalists. In making their decision, the jury stated: “This project is an impressive reconstruction, addressing issues common to bridges of the era. Good example of rehabilitation.”
The Award will be presented on Friday, October 19, 2018 at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Tickets and sponsorship options are available at californiapreservation.org/awards.
About this project
John K. Van de Kamp Bridge, formerly La Loma Bridge, is located in West Pasadena spanning across Arroyo Seco. It is a perfect example of an open spandrel reinforced-concrete arch bridge. The structure consists of twin main spans joined by asymmetrical approach spans. The asymmetrical appearance of the bridge responds to the natural topography of its setting within the Arroyo Seco.
Recent research shows that the bridges of Arroyo Seco had French sources of design. In 1907, a citizen-driven Los Angeles Municipal Art Commission enlisted Charles Mulford Robinson, a Chicago-based journalist and a pioneering urban planning theorist, to create a city-funded plan for Los Angeles. In the report presented in 1909, Robinson recommended very practical solutions to every part of the city, including adjacent neighborhoods. He recommended that bridges across Arroyo Seco replicate Walnut Lane Bridge in Philadelphia which in its turn replicated Adolphe Bridge in Luxembourg built in 1899-1903 by a world-famous French bridge engineer Paul Séjourné. La Loma Bridge is among the most elegant and inventive versions of Séjourné’s prototype. The Neoclassical style of the bridge reflects the City Beautiful Movement that viewed infrastructure as an element of grand civic architecture.
Prior to the reconstruction, La Loma Bridge was in a poor structural condition. It was altered in 1962 and lost part of its original features. As a result of the retrofit and rehabilitation, the lifespan of the structure was extended by approximately 100 years which will allow Pasadeneans to enjoy its beauty for generations to come.
A seismic retrofit and reconstruction of La Loma Bridge were completed in 2017 and the bridge was renamed the John K. Van de Kamp Bridge. The reinforced concrete slab-girder superstructure was replaced with a new post-tensioned concrete box girder superstructure, the deck was slightly widened, and other retrofit work to the abutments and piers and to repair spalls and cracks was completed. The new structure type and widening have not altered the appearance of extant character-defining features of the bridge. The new superstructure and widened deck are connected directly to the existing bridge piers, spandrel columns, and main arches with vertical shear pins. The essential form of the open-spandrel reinforced concrete bridge remains intact. Additional concrete frames added between existing columns on piers 3 and 5 are minimally visible and do not diminish the integrity of the historic pier design. The cosmetic repairs to damaged and spalling concrete match the original bridge features in color, texture, style, and design.
Photos © Michael e. Stern www.buildabetterphotograph.com
City of Pasadena
OHL USA, Inc.
OHL USA, Inc.
Geocon Consultants, Inc