San Diego Zoo Safari Park Visit 10/22

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On Saturday, a team of five students visited the project site with our mentor and professional chapter contact. They assessed both the size and the quality of the bridge, which was already known to be structurally sound. Upon measuring the thickness of the bridge deck, it was discovered that the bottom of the deck was thicker at the ends than in the center, forming a slight arch. It was noted that the bat bridge spanned a deeper trench that carries heavy vehicular traffic. Derya, the mentor present on the trip, noted that due to the steep slopes on both ends of the bridge, additional guardrails or fencing would need to be constructed leading up to the bridge to ensure the safety of pedestrians. The surface of the bat bridge also contained metal conduit and two spotlights, which would need to be rerouted. It is yet to be determined whether the Safari Park or EWB will be responsible for these additional structures.
After assessment of the structures, the group met in the Ranger Station to recap the findings and discuss how to proceed. Mandy of EWB-Orange County provided insight on how her chapter was planning to implement their design. She explained the setbacks they faced such as fundraising and finding contractors willing to volunteer or work at a reduced rate. Insurance and liability were also discussed.
To end the trip, the students walked around the park collecting inspiration for their design. The park had various fence and railing designs in place, so it was concluded that the new design should complement nearby structures. An ideal design would fit in it’s surroundings while in some way containing a unique touch.
Overall, the trip was very successful and a multitude of information was gained in regards to the planning and implementing of the railings. Both Mandy and Derya were extremely helpful in explaining professional techniques and raising awareness of unforeseen issues. The team was very optimistic about the future of the project and is set to begin the design process soon.