I recently posted on a few of the DOT’s most latest bridge concepts that are in contention to be built at Elmwood Avenue, traversing the Scajaquada Creek (and expressway). The original historic bridge that was once situated in this Olmsted landscape was eventually destroyed as auto traffic increased via daily commutes in and out of the city. Today we are not only left with a utilitarian eyesore, we are also presented with an opportunity to “right” a major injustice to Elmwood and the park system (see more).
In an effort to create awareness for the need of a bridge that pays homage to what once graced this same spot, Tony James, R.A. Park Architect for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, has provided us with a sketch that he thinks more befits the park landscape – the bridge appears to pay tribute to the significance of the park scape, and also has a hint of the Pan American Exposition, which took place in this same area.
“In looking at the design of the new Elmwood Avenue bridge historic precedents were considered,” says James. “One of the major elements of both the earlier Elmwood Avenue bridge, and the previous Three Nations Bridge (carrying Lincoln Parkway over the Scajaquada), was the use of arches, thus our early comment to DOT that we would like to see an arch incorporated into the design of the new bridge. We also were uncomfortable with the use of a synthetic stone veneer in the spanning element of the bridge since it would be too thin and the arch was too long for it to look authentic. And since the earlier Three Nations Bridge was iron, and an old bridge in Cazenovia Park was a steel plate girder design, we felt that the use of steel would be more appropriate for the length of the span. Also, we have suggested that the synthetic stone on the bridge piers would be made up of larger stones, which reference most of the larger historic bridges in the park system.
Below is a sketch by James, plus two photos of the earlier Gala Water bridge (replaced by the present 3 Nations Bridge at the foot of Lincoln Parkway) and one of a former bridge in Caz Park, which is a plate-girder bridge. The earlier 3 Nations bridge is iron. An image of the historic Elmwood Avenue bridge is also included.
Above and below: Gala Waters Bridge