BJC Healthcare

Safety a Top Concern for Bade Roofing on 1,200-Foot-Long, Elevated Pedestrian Connector Project


Two-man crew lays 120 feet of roofing in 15 hours

Bade Roofing Company reported zero injuries on a challenging project that required its workers to scale a 1,200-foot-long, 13-foot-wide elevated pedestrian skywalk through one of the busiest medical campuses in St. Louis, MO.

The East-West Connector project on the BJC HealthCare/Washington University Medical Center campus was completed in March 2017, following 8.5 months of construction. The massive concrete, glass and steel structure reaches heights of 40 feet above street level and travels nearly a quarter of a mile to connect four parking garages and various buildings throughout the busy campus.

Bade crews installed a tapered roof system – a Firestone induction-welded white TPO membrane with R20 insulation and a 1/2″ cover board – over the entire length of the pedestrian bridge. The roofing project was broken into seven areas and each area had to be installed separately and not in order, so this meant Bade’s workers had to mobilize and demobilize frequently and splice newly installed roof areas to ones installed sometimes months before.

A crew of 3-4 workers took three months to complete the complex roofing project. In a single, 15-hour day, two workers roofed a 120-foot span of the bridge. Given the logistics and safety concerns, this was an amazing feat, said Bade Roofing CEO David Bade.

“Work was done around heavy traffic areas and functioning parking garages. Certain work areas had to be shut down and gated off, but other areas could only be worked on during a short timeframe when traffic was light,” said Bade. “There was a section of the connector that crossed Taylor Ave that was particularly difficult from a coordination stand point. This strip of road is the main thoroughfare on the campus, and shut down of the entire road was a nearly impossible request, however, during one weekend the road was allowed to be shut down. Due to the fact that five different trades all needed to complete their work over the road in this two-day time slot, crowding in this relatively small area was definitely an issue. The roof had to be installed before other trades could do their portion of work, so our two-day time slot turned into one day.”

Bade crews utilized a lifeline stanchion system, installed every 30 feet along the top of the skywalk. The stanchions had to be clamped to the structural I-beams, which required cutting through 18-gauge metal decking to get to them.

“Safety on the project had to be handled much like a road bridge,” said Bade. “It made roofing very slow and tedious, but safety was a major concern and the project was completed with no incidents.”

The massive connector is constructed of 14 concrete piers (2,500 cubic yards of total concrete), more than 500 sections of glass panels and pre-fabricated steel truss sections weighing a total of 380 tons.

KAI Design & Build, in a joint venture with Paric Corporation, served as the architect and general contractor on the project.

Founded in 1954, Bade Roofing Company, Inc. is one of St. Louis, Missouri’s premier family-owned and operated commercial and industrial roofing specialists.


KAI Design & Build Completes 1,200-foot-long, Elevated Pedestrian Skywalk Through Largest Medical Campus in St. Louis


KAI Design & Build, along with Joint Venture Partner Paric Corporation, is announcing the completion of a massive 1,200-foot-long, elevated pedestrian skywalk project connecting more than 6,000 parking spaces to the main hospital complex on the BJC HealthCare/Washington University Medical Center campus in St. Louis, MO.

KAI Design & Build’s construction department led the  project, with KAI also providing its architectural design. The project is a component of the BJC HealthCare/Washington University Medical  Center Campus Renewal Project  – a long-term project to transform a 16-block campus that includes Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine. The renewal project is focused on improving the patient and family experience from both a clinical and campus perspective.

Completed in March 2017, after only 264 construction days, the extensive pedestrian connector is a 13-foot-wide tube elevated to heights averaging 40 feet above street level. It starts on the east end at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital staff garage and continues west along the MetroLink right-of-way adjacent to BJC’s new 3,022-space Duncan Central Garage, designed and constructed in 2015 by the Paric/KAI joint venture. The walkway then connects to a third BJC garage on Taylor Avenue and continues across Taylor Avenue to the west and runs alongside the 700-space Metro Parking Garage.

The 1,200-foot walkway ends at the new 12-story Mid-Campus Center where pedestrians can connect to the main elevated walkway system near the BJC Institute of Health and Hope Plaza. The recently completed Mid-Campus Center was also constructed by a joint venture between Clayco and KAI. Other buildings adjacent to the connector route include a 213,000-square-foot College of Pharmacy academic building (currently under construction), the existing College of Pharmacy, the Parkview Building, and the Eric P. Newman Education Center.

KAI’s architects designed the connector to blend in with its surroundings, withstand high pedestrian traffic and outside environmental factors such as wind and weather, and provide a comfortable, safe environment for its travelers.

The connector is constructed of tinted, Low-E glass; pre-fabricated steel truss sections (in total weighing 380 tons); 14 concrete piers (2,500 cubic yards of total concrete); and over 500 sections of glass panels. Its mechanical system consists of a 4-pipe, hot and cold water system that feeds local fan coil units with a couple of local above-ceiling air handlers.

The interior, which could not be completed until the connector was enclosed, incorporates field carpet tiles for its flooring and LED lay-in ceiling fixtures strung along its entire length. The bridge design also incorporates emergency exits, as well as emergency security intercoms (indicated by blue lights) at all garage and building points along its route.

“What we built was a controlled environment that provides a safe way to get from point A to point B,” said KAI Senior Project Manager Jeremy Lammers. “It is a conditioned space so that in the summer, you are going to be cool and in the winter, you are going to be warm. In the rain, you are going to be dry. The connector provides a new way to get to work or class safely and comfortably.”

For security reasons as well as aesthetics, lights were installed roughly every 20 feet in the soffit beneath the bridge to illuminate the ground below and minimize the shadow effect cast from the bridge. The connector’s roof consists of an energy-efficient white, mechanically-fastened TPO roofing system.

With multiple contractors/subcontractors and entities involved in the project at any given time, including the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, MetroLink, various BJC HealthCare operational entities, as well as public utilities and the City of St. Louis, significant coordination was required by the KAI/Paric construction team to keep the project on track.

“Clear and regular communication with all of the entities was key to the success of the project,” said Lammers. “Covering roughly seven acres of prime real estate on the eastern side of the largest medical campus in St. Louis, logistics were of the utmost importance. Daily communication with the building managers of several adjacent structures was key each and every day. Our crews had to not only avoid traffic congestion in the area as much as possible, but also work safely amongst the many people walking along the streets to get to the campus for work or school. It was quite a challenging project logistically, but the team did an outstanding job.”

KAI was able to achieve substantial minority inclusion on the project with 75% MBE and 1% WBE participation and reported only two recordable accidents on the project.

Power UP Electrical Contractors provided design/build electrical services on the project, with Square UP Builders providing rough and finish carpentry services.

To view a video of the East-West Connector project, visit

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KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri . A renowned leader in the industry, KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through collaboration, technology, processes and expertise.