Orange County Branch Newsletter

July 2019

ASCE OC Branch

San Diego Safari Park Gorilla Bridge Retrofit

By Jason Fix, PE | Programs Committee Co-Chair

ASCE OC coordinated with Robyn Badger, Architect for the San Diego Safari Park to retrofit the existing Gorilla Bridge. The park previously had a monorail line and several bridges were constructed for its path. The park has decided to repurpose the monorail path for pedestrian and maintenance vehicle use. To accommodate the change in purpose, bridge railings were developed to be installed on the bridge. In preparation for the installation, I coordinated with the park to obtain materials, details, and volunteer expertise to perform the retrofit.

On Saturday June 1, the engineering volunteers met at the park entrance and began the trek to the project site. Volunteers, including professionals and student members, had traveled from San Diego and Orange Counties to the park in Escondido. Joshua Nelson from Scott Fence met the team with a full supply of industrial tools. Due to his guidance the team was able to complete the installation in a half day with no issues.

Reviewing the Installation Procedure with Joshua Nelson

>Brackets and wood posts for the maintenance vehicle bumpers had been installed in May by Flatiron. The pedestrian fencing was to be installed on these bumpers. These were installed with lag bolts anchoring the plates to the wooden bumper. Fall equipment was utilized for placing the fencing posts. Volunteers were able to tie into the cable running the span of the bridge using a harness similar to the ones used for rock climbing.

Next, the fencing was installed on the posts. A rustic look was requested by the park to match their current theme for the area. The volunteers hand laid the mesh and tied it to the posts. Finishing touches were applied to the mesh to make sure it was adequately fastened. Later, paint will be added to provide a cohesive theme to the park.

Thanks to all who contributed to this retrofit the project was a success!

Installing the Posts by placing the Lag Bolts.

Placing the final ties on the fencing mesh.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for joining in on the effort: Lenard Tran, Ashley Pham, Christina Hanna, Andres Lozano, Shannon Davis, Keenan Do, Gabi Brocklehurst, Chirath “Chuck” Karunathilake, Jason Fix, David Fix, Cindy Fix, and Greg Henk!

About the Author

Jason Fix, PE, is a Bridge Engineer for McLean & Schultz. He has over 10 years of experience working on bridges and structures in Orange County. He is interested in exploring the civil engineering field and sharing knowledge within the professional network. Jason can be contacted at

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