News Release

The Troll Finds a Home-New Bridge Installed

Although long-awaited by students, the installation of the foot bridge spanning the banks of Navajo Creek and connecting the main campus to the Bootsma Bookstore Café was witnessed by a gathering of excited staff members who clapped and cheered the moment the bridge was gingerly placed on its concrete abutments on Tuesday, June 9. A dedication is being planned when students return for the new academic year.

Comments among the crowd ranged from “it looks like it has always been there” to “now the Troll has a place to live.”

Construction continues, as sidewalks are poured and safety rails and lighting are installed.  

Greg Lambert of Lambert Bridge and Iron in Bourbonnais, Illinois, designed and constructed the bridge, which was set in place with a huge crane by Lambert Construction. The connection between Lambert, who donated a significant amount of time and labor, and Trinity was made by friend of the College Ollie Dorn. Funding for the bridge came through a generous gift from donors.

According to Dr. George Vander Velde ’63, vice president for campus development, the main impetus of the project was safety issues that arose from students and other visitors being forced to walk from the main campus to the BBC along the side of 123rd Street.

“There had been early discussion to place a foot bridge parallel to the car bridge on 123rd Street,” said Vander Velde, “but the purchase of the BBC drove the current placement.” This placement links the main campus to the west side entrance of the bookstore café and provides safe passage between the two.

Vander Velde said that the project was activated about a year ago and the College had anticipated getting the bridge in by the Fall 2008 semester. In addition to the complex process of working with outside agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and FEMA, various complications arose. A significant setback occurred when the structural engineer’s computer crashed and the plans couldn’t be resurrected. Serious health issues then prevented him from continuing the work. Lambert engaged a second engineer who undertook the time consuming process of redoing the calculations and drawings.

The steel bridge is finished by a process that causes the steel to oxidize so that it quickly fits in to its forested environment. Ongoing construction in conjunction with the bridge installation includes sidewalks and landscaping.

The sidewalks on the west side of the bridge are being installed by Ipema Concrete Construction, Inc. This sidewalk creates a Y formation with the concrete walkway from the bridge branching to the south of the senior parking lot and leading to the dorms; and to the north of the parking lot and leading to the crosswalk at the 3-way stop. The east sidewalk, leading from the bridge to the BBC, was installed by Lambert Construction.

As part of a tree ordinance of the city, Trinity developed a mitigation plan for replanting native trees affected by the construction. According to the tree survey completed beforehand, most of the vegetation removed was made up of invasive plant species. Many invasives have been systematically cleared out along the creek through ongoing initiatives led by Dr. Frank Hensley, professor of biology. Restoring the natural landscape around the bridge will include the planting of native species.

Other key people contributing to the bridge installation were Tim Timmons, director of the physical plant, who managed the project. V3 Companies, Ltd. of Woodridge, Illinois, performed civil work and  land surveys.

Those most affected by the addition of the bridge are the students, who will have a safe and scenic walk from dorms and classes to one of their favorite gathering places. And what of Trinity’s beloved mascot?

“We can safely report that we now have a suitable Troll habitat,” said Vander Velde.

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