The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) Pedestrian Bridge Earns Envision Bronze Award
The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) Pedestrian Bridge (PedX) at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, is the recent recipient of the Envision® Bronze award for sustainable infrastructure, designated by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). To reach Bronze status, a project must demonstrate that it delivers environmental, social, and economic benefits above standard or conventional practice.
Project Context and Scope
The ISEC PedX project is the construction of an elevated pedestrian crossing that connects the new ISEC at Northeastern University’s Huntington Avenue Campus in Boston with the Fenway and Roxbury communities. Spanning 132 feet, the bridge improves public connections between the University’s facilities on the south side of five Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Amtrak rail lines that separate it from the main campus. The $17 million project mimics the architecture of the new ISEC building, allowing students, visitors, and community members to pass easily and safety between the campuses intersected by the rail corridor, all while offering views of the Boston skyline and the bold architecture of the ISEC building. This project fulfills part of the Northeastern University Campus Master Plan.
“The pedestrian bridge is an aesthetic treasure in the heart of Northeastern’s campus, providing a much-needed connection from the main campus to the newly developed Columbus Avenue corridor,” said John Park, Hill International project manager. On behalf of Northeastern University, the Hill team managed the design and construction of the pedestrian bridge from the conceptual “Arc” structure in 2014 to occupancy of the bridge in 2019.
Northeastern University worked in close collaboration with Skanska, Payette, Arup, Hill International, and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) to deliver this visually stunning, award-winning, sustainable project.
The Envision system examines the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole through five distinct categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Resilience. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.
Key factors contributing to the ISEC PedX project earning an Envision Bronze award include:
Enhancing Public Space and Promoting Future Growth
The ISEC PedX enhances and restores public space along Columbus Avenue and makes the University campus more livable. The original project site was once an active parking lot that has since been restored to provide public space. PedX is not only visually stunning as a natural extension to the surrounding landscape, but it also offers pedestrians unparalleled views of the campus and city. The project increases the University’s presence along Columbus Avenue, which is undergoing significant development. New dorms, dining halls, playgrounds, and sports fields are being developed along the road, all of which will be supported and made more accessible by PedX.
Protecting and Improving Public Health and Safety
Instead of implementing a more conventional practice of erecting the bridge piece by piece (which would have taken multiple weeks during limited night shift hours and put workers at greater risk), the project team redesigned the construction crane and lift plan to erect the entire bridge over the course of two nightshifts. The bridge was first erected in a laydown yard, and then two large sections of the bridge were hoisted by crane and put in place. By implementing this innovative construction methodology and using safety-enhanced equipment to support this practice, the construction team reduced risk of potential injury to workers, equipment malfunction, and interruptions to rail service. Construction work plans were coordinated with MBTA, Amtrak, and the University to ensure maximum public health and safety outcomes throughout the process.
Using Energy–Efficient Lighting and Minimizing Light Pollution
The entire project is using energy–efficient LED lighting versus more traditional incandescent bulbs. Automated lighting controls and zoned systems work in concert with the energy–efficient light fixtures to reduce energy requirements and minimize light pollution while still maintaining sufficient lighting levels required for both safety, comfort, and enjoyment of the space.
Maximizing the Use of Durable Materials with Recycled Content
Formed of weathering steel (COR-TEN), the bridge’s metallurgy is designed to rust in a controlled and deliberate fashion. Over time, this rusting process will form a protective corrosion-resistant surface layer, extending the durability and useful life of the bridge. The specialty steel includes a high percentage of recycled content and will reduce maintenance requirements and associated costs over the life of the bridge while mitigating the need for rail line disruptions during routine maintenance.
“ISI congratulates Northeastern University and its project partners on the successful implementation of the ISEC Pedestrian Bridge,” said Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s managing director. “This project complements the existing campus infrastructure. It’s also an elegant and sustainable solution that provides a necessary physical connection for a university that is unique in that it has a railroad that runs through the campus. Congratulations to the entire team on achieving Envision Bronze for this project.”
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Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
For inquiries related to ISI, Envision or the Envision verification process, contact:
Melissa Peneycad, Managing Director | Director, Sustainable Projects
Skanska is one of the world’s leading construction and development companies. In the U.S., Skanska’s core operations include building construction, civil infrastructure and developing self-financed commercial properties, which together generated $7.6 billion in revenue in 2019. As a developer in the U.S., Skanska has invested a total of $2.7 billion in commercial and multi-family projects. With U.S. headquarters in New York City, Skanska has offices in 28 metro areas with 7,900 employees nationwide. Skanska is an industry-leading innovator in both safety and project execution, and offers competitive solutions for both traditional and complex assignments to help build a more sustainable future for our customers and communities. Global revenue of parent company Skanska AB, headquartered in Stockholm and listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, totaled approximately $18.7 billion in 2019.
About Hill International, Inc.
Hill International, with approximately 2,700 professionals in more than 50 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, and other consulting services to clients in a variety of market sectors. Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth-largest construction management firm in the United States. For more information on Hill, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com.
Payette is a collective of 170 designers who are passionate about technologically complex buildings that are among the architectural profession’s most programmatically intricate and energy intensive. Their depth of expertise in science and healthcare has produced a body of boldly original and exquisitely crafted buildings that are as profoundly humane in their accommodation of vital social needs as they are pioneering in their pursuit of energy and environmental performance.
Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. Working in more than 140 countries, the firm’s designers, engineers, architects, planners, consultants and technical specialists work with our clients on innovative projects of the highest quality and impact. www.arup.com
About ISI Envision
Envision® is the product of a joint collaboration between ISI, which was founded by three national engineering associations: the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Council of Engineering Companies, and American Public Works Association, and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Information on ISI and Envision can be found on the ISI website www.sustainableinfrastructure.org.