A new 110-foot pedestrian bridge over the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks at the City of Martinez Amtrak station and intermodal facility is enclosed with 2,400 feet of open metal mesh woven by Cambridge Architectural and etched with the town’s name and decorative bay grasses.
The bridge connects the station with an auxiliary parking area located adjacent to Martinez Regional Shoreline Park. Original designs called for a second floor entryway when the station opened in 2001, but the connecting span wasn’t built until late 2019 when demand for commuter train and bus parking grew.
Cynthia Easton Architects of Sacramento sought an open solution for enclosing the bridge and specified Cambridge’s Mid Balance stainless steel fabric with 50 percent open area.
“We chose Cambridge metal mesh so lettering and design could be etched into the material,” said Cynthia Easton, principal. “I also wanted the bridge to be as ‘open’ as possible to offer views of the bay and eliminate dark or hidden areas so everyone felt safe.”
In partnership with Metal-Arch, also in Cambridge Maryland, Cambridge etched the Martinez name and accompanying bay grass designs by sandblasting the raw stainless steel. The process created a texturized, dull matte finish that formed the letters and grasses.
The openness of the mesh material allows pedestrians to “see out” with views of the Carquinez Strait and the Benica-Martinez Bridge to the northeast as well as Mt. Diablo and the Diablo Valley to the southeast. The ability to “see in” provides an added security measure for pedestrians traversing the walkway.
The mesh was affixed to the pre-fabricated structure with Cambridge’s Eclipse attachment system. A wave-like light tube connects to the metal fabric and accents the bridge at night.
The use of stainless steel mesh made from manufactured recycled materials capitalizes on California’s green building initiatives. Even Cambridge’s manufacturing of architectural mesh – a cold forming process – generates less environmental impact than heat-treated products.
In addition to providing unobstructed views and ventilation, metal mesh can be curved and shaped for bridge projects to deter climbing and prevent thrown objects.