Arches For A Parkway

by John A. Corven, Chief Bridge Engr.; Figg Engineering Group, Tallahassee, FL,
John W. Jordan, Jr., Asst. Regional Bridge Engr.; Figg Engineering Group, Tallahassee, FL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 11, Pg. 44-47

Document Type: Feature article


The final phase of construction on the Natchez Trace Parkway (which follows a centuries-old 450 mi trail between Natchez, Miss. and Nashville, Tenn.) is nearing completion almost 60 years after the project started. The final link is an $11 million bridge over Route 96 near Franklin, Tenn., featuring the first use of precast segmental bridge arches in the U.S. At this crossing, the Parkway is elevated approximately 155 ft above Route 96. Unlike typical arch bridges, the two arches of the Natchez Trace are designed without spandrel columns to support the superstructure, creating a cleaner, more open, aesthetically pleasing structure. The arches comprise 122 precast hollow box segments, each cell with a metal staircase within it for future inspection. The arch segments are fabricated at a casting yard roughly 8 mi from the erection site. They support 196 precast box girder superstructure segments weighing between 36 and 55 tons. The superstructure segments were erected using conventional balanced cantilever construction techniques, with a ground-based crane. Several unusual contracting and project management techniques were also employed. They included a two-step bidding process requiring interested contractors to submit a technical proposal and a contracting method known as A+B bidding, or cost-plus-time bidding. The last arch segment was erected in October 1993, and the 1,572 ft bridge will open in 1994.

Subject Headings: Arch bridges | Superstructures | Bids | Arches | Bridge columns | Bridge design | Project management | Aesthetics | Tennessee | United States

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