Whistler Blackcomb wanted to expand its tourist infrastructure with a safe yet thrilling attraction. As Lead Engineer for the Design-Build Team with Axis Mountain Technical, Morrison Hershfield designed a 130 m long steel pedestrian suspension bridge leading to a 12.5 m cantilevered viewing platform to do just that. At over 2,100 m above sea level, the Cloudraker Skybridge and Raven’s Eye are thought to be the highest pedestrian structures in North America. This remote site presented extreme environmental exposure and limited construction access. Since the Skybridge abutment headframes and the Raven’s Eye main beams and end bridge were too heavy to haul and manipulate on site without damaging the landscape and fragile vegetation, each 2,300 kg component was first trial-assembled and then flown into place by helicopter. As an alternative to snow removal operations in the winter, the Skybridge deck is a modular design with the ability to be efficiently removed and reinstalled during the off-season. Capable of year-round operations, the structures provide an eco-tourism and economic boost to the resort, attracting a whole new set of visitors to Whistler’s peak. The jury found this to be a remarkable project. They were impressed by the ingenious and effective solutions the team put in place to address the logistical challenges and by the innovative design to tackle the issue of snow removal.
Canadian Consulting Engineer article