Little Red Bridge in Encanto Park

2011 ACEC Arizona – Engineering Excellence Grand Award Structural Design

Structural Design Phoenix, Arizona

Constructed between 1935 and 1938, the Little Red Bridge in Encanto Park has long stood as an iconic structure for park users. Generations of Phoenicians recall picnics at Encanto Park with family photos on the Little Red Bridge. It is also frequently the backdrop for wedding photographs. The bridge was a place where many memories were made.

In August of 2008, a destructive storm passed through the Phoenix area, affecting nearly the entire valley. Many trees fell and many residents lost electrical power for several days. In the wake of the storm, it was discovered that a large tree was uprooted and fell on top of the Little Red Bridge. The structure had previously been barricaded to visitors because of structural decay, but the damage caused by the tree seems to have condemned the bridge to inevitable demolition. With the economic climate since 2008, the City of Phoenix had decided to tear down the bridge and not provide a replacement.

Structural Grace learned of the impending removal and wanted to try to salvage the bridge. The loss of this bridge would be a detriment to Encanto Park and the park would lose part of its charming character. Structural Grace proposed to the City of Phoenix to design the bridge as a community service project and look to find a partner to build the bridge as a service project.

A willing construction partner was found in Sundt Construction and for two weekends in early November 2010, Structural Grace, Sundt, volunteers from Phoenix AZSCE YMF and the ASU Chapter of Chi Epsilon rebuilt the new wood truss bridge and placed new concrete steps. AZSCE YMF also contributed much needed nourishment both weekends and had a beautiful bronze bridge plaque made to commemorate the rebirth of the bridge.

The work was completed in time for the celebration marking the 75th Anniversary of the park with a ribbon cutting for the new bridge on November 27, 2010. We hope that the new bridge lasts at least another 75 years and provides today’s and future generations with a lifetime of new memories!