Friday, September 17, 2010

Alabama's Greenest Bridge at Little River

From the Alabama Department of Transportation:


September 15, 2010

New Little River Canyon Bridge Officially Dedicated

Cherokee and DeKalb counties, Ala. – Transportation Director Joe McInnes today joined federal, state and local officials to dedicate the new Little River Canyon Bridge on State Highway 35 connecting Cherokee and DeKalb counties. The event, held on the east side of the bridge in Cherokee County, signals the completion of the $7.6 million project that combines functional and sustainable construction with aesthetics to enhance the natural beauty of the already breathtaking Little River Canyon National Preserve.

The new Little River Canyon Bridge replaces the old State Highway 35 Bridge built in 1948. Due to its structural integrity and environmentally-sensitive design, the bridge project has paved the way for similar projects in the future.

“We’re excited to unveil this new project as the first of its kind in the state,” McInnes said. “ALDOT’s intent was to integrate the bridge design into the environment and natural terrain of the Little River National Preserve. I’m proud to say we were successful. The new bridge exhibits a sense of continuity with its natural surroundings, and we will look for opportunities in the future where we can design bridges that fit into the local environment.”

With a driving surface 53 feet above the riverbed, the new bridge is 465 feet long. The new bridge has only one pier set in the middle of the streambed, which causes the least possible amount of impact to the natural flow of the river. Support beams and rebar were manufactured using recycled steel, and recycled asphalt was used to pave the driving surface. The bridge has a fully-developed pedestrian lane featuring three viewing areas with benches overlooking the scenic Little River Canyon and falls. Another unique aspect of the bridge is its 11,800 square feet of simulated stone masonry, adding overall artistic value and visual appeal. Additionally, materials from the old bridge will be recycled and reused in future road construction projects.

Construction on the project by contractor Highways Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., began April 8, 2009. The project, originally slated for completion in November 2010, came in ahead of schedule. The bridge opened to traffic Aug. 27, 2010.

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