BP Bridge, Marking The Path, May 9, 2003
Wooden stakes in Daley Bicentennial Plaza mark the projected path of architect Frank Gehry's BP Pedestrian Bridge. Early designs show the Bridge crossing Columbus Drive in more of a "Z" shape, which meant that elevators would have been needed at each end to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the Act, the greatest degree of a slope allowable for people in wheelchairs is a 5% slope. Gehry felt strongly that the public should be able to enjoy the Bridge equally, so he basically calculated how long the Bridge had to be to incorporate a gradient at 5%, and then coiled it up over Columbus Drive. The result is a beautiful, serpentine Bridge that is 925 feet long, over Columbus Drive, which is just over 90 feet wide.