Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge, San Diego, CA

Designed to be one of the longest, self-anchored, pedestrian suspension bridges in the world, the iconic Harbor Drive Bridge unites San Diego’s urban core with the waterfront. Connecting the convention center with the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego’s East Village, the bridge spans across six lanes of traffic, a rail yard and trolley tracks.

The bridge is suspended from a single 131-foot (40 m) tall pylon set into the ground at a 60 degree angle. The unusual design features a curved concrete deck that is suspended only on the deck’s inside curve by a single pair of suspension cables.

The lighting concept for the bridge had to meet several challenges. Provide a safely illuminated causeway for pedestrians across Harbor Drive, accentuate the aesthetic lines of the structure without visible exterior sources and use a system that was energy efficient while requiring little maintenance from city staff.

Syska provided a timeless lighting solution that incorporated hidden, linear LED strips within architectural elements of the bridge. A soft and continuous illumination of the pedestrian path was achieved by reflecting light from the surfaces of the bridge. Hidden luminaries at the base of the bridge highlighted the simplicity and strength of the support structure.

Putting these precise lighting solutions together with the landmark bridge structure provides a simple, yet elegant lighting result that has gained worldwide attention.

Paul Waterbury Award for Outdoor Lighting Design, IES, 2012
Best of the Best Transportation, ENR, 2011
Project of the Year, ASCE San Diego, 2012
Judges Choice Award, ACI, San Diego Chapter, 2012
National Grand Award, ACEC, 2012
Outstanding Project Award, NCSEA, 2012

550 feet (170 m) long
Suspended from a single 131-foot (40 m) tall pylon

Civic San Diego

Safdie Rabines Architects

Structural Engineer
T.Y. Lin International Group

Reyes Construction

Architectural Lighting