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In 2013, the Chicago Park District approached Valmont to create custom poles that would help light up Maggie Daley Park’s skating ribbon. With the project architect’s vision as a starting point for the city’s newest attraction, Valmont faced a challenge of designing a highly aesthetic yet structurally sound solution.
While designing the poles, Valmont’s engineering team had many factors to consider: the desired lighting direction, elevation differences along the ribbon, and lakefront location – to name a few. By lighting the skating area from directly above with the help of span wires, our team ensured that skaters would be free of any glare issues regardless of which direction they skated around the ribbon. The use of a span wire solution also meant that the poles needed to be sufficiently sized to withstand tension from different directions – meaning steel should be used as the pole material.
In addition to the poles, Valmont created custom attachments for the span wires while collaborating with electricians and light fixture manufacturers to ensure full compatibility with their requirements. Because of incline and decline along the ribbon, our engineers worked carefully with the engineering design team to determine the wire attachment height for each pole so that the distance between the ground and the lights above remained constant. With the park’s wind, water and winter conditions in mind, Valmont’s engineers recommended a 5-year warrantied V-PRO Finish System that uses galvanizing and layers of high technology paint material to give products the maximum resistance to corrosion.
With 34 span wire poles ready to light the way for ice skaters in the winter and roller skaters in the summer, the ribbon opened on December 13, 2014 and reached over 300,000 visitors in its first month. Thanks to Chicago’s push for improving the park, the project architect’s vision, and Valmont’s ability to turn the concept to reality, the ribbon will bring joy to visitors for decades to come.
Video Tour around the Skating Ribbon
Video Credit: Ian W Arsenault
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