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I Street Bridge replacement project
bridge Architect Selection Process

I Street Bridge Past and Current


The new bridge will be the first in more than 50 years to cross the Sacramento River. Since the times of the I Street Bridge (1911/12), the Tower Bridge (1935), and the Pioneer Bridge (1966), many things have changed: the waterfront, environmental considerations, transit, how people travel, and the importance of connecting two thriving cities. The I Street Bridge Replacement Project has changed accordingly.

In 2018, the cities developed and implemented a design competition to engage a bridge architect to join their team for the design of the new bridge.



The Design Competition Timeline

I Street Selection Process Timeline

The Selection Committee, ad hoc Design Advisory Group, and Project Team The selection committee The cities established a selection committee who met twice to select the best bridge architect for the project. The selection committees were composed of two members of the Sacramento City Council, two members of the West Sacramento City Council, and a representative from the office of Congresswoman Doris Matsui. At the first meeting, the committee members included: Meaghan Stiles, field representative for Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen and Councilmember Jeff Harris, and West Sacramento Mayor Chris Cabaldon and Councilmember Beverly Sandeen. At the second meeting, the selection committee members included Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen and Councilmember Jeff Harris, and West Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Chris Ledesma and Councilmember Mark Johannessen.


The ad hoc design advisory group

The I Street Bridge Replacement Project team also established an ad hoc Design Advisory Group to serve as a resource to the shortlisted bridge architect firms. The ad hoc group was comprised of locally based talent with varied expertise including architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, and developers. The group included Kimberly Garza, director of ATLAS Lab; local artists William Ishmael and Shelley Willis; Liv Moe, executive director of the Verge Center for the Arts; Bruce Monighan, urban design manager with the City of Sacramento; and John Webre, principal of Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects. Group members were asked to share their knowledge and unique perspectives of both cities with the shortlisted firms, to help the competing architects understand the I Street Bridge Replacement Project and help inspire the bridge design concepts.

A smaller ad hoc Design Advisory Group was tasked with serving as a resource to the selection panel on May 30, 2018. Each of these members reviewed the submitted design concepts and provided their perspective on the merits of each firm and the concepts to the selection panel. This group included Mark Friedman, president of Fulcrum Properties; Kimberly Garza, director of ATLAS Lab; Denton Kelley, managing principal of LDK Ventures; Bruce Monighan, urban design manager with the City of Sacramento; and John Webre, principal of Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects.


The project team

The I Street Bridge Replacement Project team was involved throughout the design competition process and included staff from both cities, the prime consultant engineer Mark Thomas and Company, bridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters, and public outreach firm AIM Consulting.

The Design Competition

The design competition for the architects had two-stages.

Stage One

January 29: The cities issued an international Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for architecture and aesthetic services for the new bridge. The request was distributed to professional networks including the Urban Land Institute and American Institute of Architects. The City of Sacramento distributed a press release, and local news outlets including KCRA and Fox40 aired stories on their nightly news segments. The cities also placed advertisements with the Urban Land Institute, Integrated Marketing Systems (IMS), and LinkedIn which reached firms in the United States as well as abroad.

The project team reviewed the submissions and evaluated them based upon the RFQ’s requirements. These requirements included the firm’s experience, the proposed project manager’s experience, and the proposed team’s experience on similar bridge projects. Firms were also asked to submit a sample work plan and references.

The cities received statements of qualifications from four bridge architect firms. The project team reviewed the statements of qualifications and created a shortlist to recommend to the selection committee based upon technical evaluation criteria.

March 22: The selection committee met to discuss the statements of qualifications. After considering the team’s recommended shortlist and reviewing the statements, the committee shortlisted three firms to submit proposals. The selection committee also discussed the ad hoc design advisory group and its role as a resource in the process, and made recommendations for local talent who could be invited to participate.


Stage Two

March 23: The project team notified the three shortlisted bridge architect firms that would move forward. The firms were then asked to develop three bridge concepts. Their proposals were due on May 18.

March 23 – May 18: As part of the bridge design concept development, each shortlisted firm was asked to visit the project site. During their visits, the architects met with the project team to discuss technical questions related to the structural design and other items. The three firms also met with members of the ad hoc Design Advisory Group to discuss architect perspectives and the region’s unique attributes to inform the development of their design concepts and the vision for the new bridge.

May 30: The second selection committee meeting began with a presentation from the ad hoc design advisory group. The group presented its individual and collective assessment of each bridge architect firm’s proposed design concepts based on how well the design concepts met community expectations and objectives for creativity, design quality, iconic and enduring character, specificity to and of the place, and a unifying vision for the region. Following the ad hoc group’s presentation, the project team presented an overview of the proposed concepts, including their technical analysis of each concept’s feasibility and estimated costs.

Next, each bridge architect team’s proposed project manager and key staff presented their vision for the new bridge, their approach to understanding Sacramento and West Sacramento, their three design concepts and the inspiration behind them. The selection committee engaged in question-and-answer discussions with each firm following their presentations.

Following all three presentations, the committee evaluated the shortlisted firms based upon their understanding of the project, their proposed approach for the project, their proposed bridge aesthetic designs and inspiration for each concept, and proposed work plan and schedule.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the selection panel reached unanimous consensus and selected a lead architect as the best to lead the design of the new bridge. The selection will be announced in October 2018 concurrent with the addition of the architect to the team.