Making Connections

Now that the external construction on HUP East (the Pavilion) has been completed for a number of months — and work inside the facility continues — the next stage is starting to take shape: erecting the four bridges that will connect it to its surrounding facilities.

The open-air pedestrian walkway from SEPTA’s Penn Medicine Station will provide easy access to the HUP campus. A new stairway — as well as a two-stop shuttle elevator — in the station will lead to the walkway. Immediately after crossing the bridge over Health Sciences Drive, people can enter a secondary entrance to HUP East or continue outdoors on a vehicle-free, landscaped zone between the Penn Museum and HUP East, that connects through to the  33rd Street sidewalk. There will also be a new mid-block crossing at this location to HUP West across 33rd and 34th Streets.

Two bridges will traverse the space between HUP East and the Perelman Center. One will only be “offstage” only, meaning it is for staff and for transporting patients and supplies between PCAM and HUP East and not for use by visitors. The second public bridge — the longest at 142 feet — will span from the main thoroughfare of HUP East to the upper atrium in the Perelman Center, the same level as the current connector bridge to HUP West.

Because of the elevation change between HUP East and HUP West, the bridge connecting the two “presented a huge challenge. It took many versions to get to the final design,” said Derek Tasch, Health System architect. “We had to reroute it to get more length and a gentler transition into HUP.” The new bridge – which was erected last month — runs parallel to the current one which connects PCAM to HUP West and will remain in place until HUP East opens.

The design of all of the bridges features large windows which allow sunlight to pour in and offer wonderful views of the campus. In addition to being wider than the existing bridge, “the new onstage/offstage operation will mean that patient and logistic transportation will no longer coexist with the general public circulation, further enhancing the generous feeling of each bridge,” Tasch said.

As of mid-October, the steel frames for two of the four bridge structures — one between HUP East and PCAM, and the other connecting HUP East and HUP West — had been safely installed. (The SEPTA bridge is targeting a summer 2021 installation.) The process began with assembling the two sections of each bridge on the ground, which were then lifted into place with cranes. With the steel frames bolted in place, “most of the remaining work on the bridges will be done at night,” said Bryan Heigh, project manager in Real Estate Design & Construction, “with intermittent single lane closures while work continues.”

See a video of how the steel frames were installed here.

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