Mark Ketchum, Civil and Structural Engineer


Mark Ketchum, Civil and Structural Engineer

Berkeley Pedestrian and Bicycle Overcrossing 2002: University Ave and West Frontage Road

In his three-and-a-half decade practice of civil engineering, technological research, seismic analysis of buildings, and the design of long-span bridges in the western United States, South America, and Asia, Mark Ketchum initially worked with renowned firms T.Y. Lin International and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates. In 1992 he co-founded the San Francisco firm OPAC Consulting Engineers.  Dr. Ketchum designed projects on three continents and was known for his use of state-of-the-art seismic and wind analysis to evaluate long-span bridges.  The Hoover Dam Bypass concrete arch bridge in Nevada (2010), the Carquinez Strait suspension bridge (2004), and the Lake Redding post-tensioned concrete bridge over the Sacramento River (1996) are examples of his work using diverse technologies and aesthetics.

Dr. Ketchum’s 2002 design for Berkeley’s graceful pedestrian bridge over the busy I-80 freeway offers a safe, accessible, elevated pathway for pedestrians, wheelchairs, and bicyclists.  It is elegantly formed by two large curved inclined steel pipes in a basket-handle shape. Situated to align with the Golden Gate to the west and Grizzly Peak in the Berkeley Hills to the east, the bridge forms a link between Berkeley’s original shoreline and the waterfront recreational areas and Marina later developed on bay fill.

Contributed by David Snippen, 2016

  • Mark Ketchum before Cartinez Strait suspension bridge (2013), photo courtesy OPAC Consulting Engineers

  • Berkeley I-80 Pedestrian Overcrossing (2002), photo courtesy OPAC Consulting Engineers

  • Hoover Dam Bypass (2010), photo courtesy OPAC Consulting Engineers

  • Nanning Bridge, Nanning City, China (2009), photo courtesy OPAC Consulting Engineers

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society