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BP Pedestrian Bridge, Chicago

#265 of 605 in Things to do in Chicago
Bridge · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The BP Pedestrian Bridge, or simply BP Bridge, is a girder footbridge in the Loop community area of Chicago, United States. It spans Columbus Drive to connect Maggie Daley Park (formerly, Daley Bicentennial Plaza) with Millennium Park, both parts of the larger Grant Park. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and structurally engineered by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, it opened along with the rest of Millennium Park on July 16, 2004. Gehry had been courted by the city to design the bridge and the neighboring Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and eventually agreed to do so after the Pritzker family funded the Pavilion.
Named for energy firm BP, which donated $5 million toward its construction, it is the first Gehry-designed bridge to have been completed. BP Bridge is described as snakelike because of its curving form. Designed to bear a heavy load without structural problems caused by its own weight, it has won awards for its use of sheet metal. The bridge is known for its aesthetics, and Gehry's style is seen in its biomorphic allusions and extensive sculptural use of stainless steel plates to express abstraction.

The pedestrian bridge serves as a noise barrier for traffic sounds from Columbus Drive. It is a connecting link between Millennium Park and destinations to the east, such as the nearby lakefront, other parts of Grant Park and a parking garage. BP Bridge uses a concealed box girder design with a concrete base, and its deck is covered by hardwood floor boards. It is designed without handrails, using stainless steel parapets instead. The total length is 935 feet (285 m), with a five percent slope on its inclined surfaces that makes it barrier free and accessible. Although the bridge is closed in winter because ice cannot be safely removed from its wooden walkway, it has received favorable reviews for its design and aesthetics.

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BP Pedestrian Bridge reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
42 reviews
  • As you walk across this stunning pedestrian bridge designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry you can't help but be impressed by the quality of the construction materials and the way they're used...  more »
  • This is a great little walk with beautiful architecture to look at. It also had a roller rink right nearby. We had a lot of fun here, before taking the cab to the museum. No restrooms though, at...  more »
  • Beautiful bridge, well worth walking across because of the views, ease and the bridge itself is nice. It is just that though, a bridge. I wish there were more beautiful views of the bridge itself, but in general, worth seeing if you're in the parks.
  • A beautiful, snakelike pedestrian bridge connecting Maggie Daley Park with Millennium Park. If you’re interested in taking photos, the bridge offers a unique and beautiful view of the city, supplemented by the metal “scales” of the serpentine bridge. It was named for the energy firm BP, which donated $5 Million toward its construction.

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