Download PDF

Emeryville - 40th Street / Shellmound Avenue Bridge Enhancements

Client: City of Emeryville and Mark Thomas & Co., Inc.

FTS was selected by the City to assist bridge engineers with the design of a new 40th Street / Shellmound Avenue bridge structure connecting Emeryville’s East Bay Bridge Center with Bay Street, Powell Street Plaza, and Emeryville Public Market.  Its prominent and visible location next to the Bay Bridge/I-80/I-580/I-880 interchange suggested that instead of using standard DOT-styled barrier railings and lighting, the bridge would provide an opportunity to project the creative identity of Emeryville and add to its brand.  The resulting pattern of diagonal fence struts and modern light fixtures was inspired by Emeryville’s mix of industrial buildings and artists’ lofts.

Detailed view of bridge railing with diagonal struts and pier-mounted modern lighting fixture.


Aerial view of 40th street & Shellmound Avenue Overcrossing structure, with nearby I-80 and I-580 connectors to the Bay Bridge,

Previous design templates from suburban locations were generic and auto-oriented.

There was no "vision" for the bridge structure despite its highly visible location at the I-80 and I-580 interchange at the East Bay landing of the Bay Bridge, and its important future role in connecting significant retail areas in the city.


  • Develop a distinctive Emeryville-inspired design treatment for bridge railings and lighting, visible to nearby passing freeway commuters as well as motorists and pedestrians on the bridge itself.  
  • Integrate the design of bridge lighting into the railing design and enhance the pedestrian scale.
  • Work with bridge structural engineers to insure constructability and code compliance.



  • Bridge construction was completed in 1996.
  • The project received a 1996 Caltrans Excellence in Transportation award and a 1996 American Concrete Institute, Northern California and Western Nevada award.

In collaboration with:

Mark Thomas & Co., Inc.