Steel Shots: New Gateway to Universal Studios Hollywood

(Photos courtesy of Griffith Company) 

Visitors arriving at Universal Studios Hollywood via public transportation have a new, safer way to enter the theme park. The Universal City Station Pedestrian Bridge is the fulfillment of a decade-long quest by Metro and NBC Universal to provide a grade-separated path of travel between the park and the Metro Rail’s Universal City Red Line Station.

The 400-ft, L-shaped bridge spans over both Lankershim Boulevard and Universal Hollywood Drive. Its light, transparent architecture and roofless design serves as a gateway to the park. The bridge offers pedestrian access in the busy area surrounding the rail station and the Universal Studios shuttle stop, allowing people to ascend the bridge platform from three corners of this busy intersection.

The structure of the bridge, designed by Miyamoto International Inc., consists of an exposed V-section steel through-truss supported by four tubular steel columns with a maximum span of nearly 150 ft across Lankershim Boulevard. Wind and seismic forces are resisted by steel buckling-restrained braced frames in the three elevator shafts and in the middle staircase. Extensive 3D dynamic modeling of the structure was needed to ensure that it performed well under seismic, wind, vehicle collision and pedestrian loading. The project used about 300 tons of steel, which was fabricated by Thompson Metal Fab out of Vancouver, Wash. (an AISC Member/Certified fabricator).

The bridge opened last month, just in time for the unveiling of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction.