The city of Nashville’s “signature bridge” has taken top honor in the “Major Span” category in the National Steel Bridge Alliance 2005 Prize Bridge Competition. Completed in May 2004, the Gateway Boulevard Bridge connects East Nashville with the thriving downtown business and entertainment district.
The primary goal for the design team, led by HNTB Corp., was to create a signature bridge that would become a landmark of Nashville. On the east end, the new Gateway Boulevard structure is set at the doorstep of the Coliseum – home of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans. The west end opens to the site of the proposed Nashville Sounds stadium – Nashville’s Triple A baseball club.
The Gateway Boulevard Bridge has a total length of 1,600 ft. The river span is a 545-ft-long steel through-arch bridge spanning the Cumberland River. Approaching the main span from the east is 961 ft of 72-in. bulb tee girders arranged in nine spans. The west approach is a 128-ft-long curved steel plate girder. The main arch deck is buffered by two transition spans made of steel box Vierendeel struts.
The project features a number of firsts for bridges in Tennessee, including:
The first fixed, through-arch bridge designed and constructed in Tennessee;
The first bridge in downtown Nashville with a clear span over the Cumberland River. This minimizes impacts on river shipping interests and was necessary to accommodate the large amount of tug and barge traffic that navigates the river bends up and down stream of the bridge; and
The first instance where the vacuum grouting procedure has been used for providing superior long-term protection of post-tensioned structures.
Another HNTB-designed bridge was the runner-up to the gateway Boulevard Bridge in the 2005 competition. The cable-stayed Bill E. Emerson Memorial Bridge in Cape Girardeau, Mo., received the Merit Award in the competition’s Major Span category.