“Connectivity” has become a buzzword among place-making pros. If Nashville were to connect, to use a local example, SoBro and the Gulch, the experts say the city would become more urban in its form and function.
On this theme, few manmade elements link Point A to Point B better than a pedestrian bridge.
Case in point: the under-construction switchback pedestrian bridge (visualize its shape as a repeating “Z”) that will link the residential buildings on Rolling Mill Hill to the offices at the redeveloped Trolley Barns, creating strong greenway connectivity in the process. Spearheaded by the Metro Development and Housing Agency, which oversees master planning on Rolling Mill Hill, the bridge clings to its bluff and, once completed, will create the feel of cantilevering over the Cumberland River.
“It will be like it’s hanging on the edge of the bluff,” said Kim Hartley Hawkins, whose Hawkins Partners has teamed with Terry Scholes of EMC Structural Engineers to create the walking bridge.
“The intent is to show off the bluff,” Hawkins added.
Indeed, though the bridge — which will be open in late October — won’t be as iconic as the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge, it will provide some breathtaking views of downtown, the river and LP Field.
In addition, the bridge will allow those folks living in the area’s Art Deco, Metro, Nance Place, Ryman Lofts and Victorian residential buildings a more efficient route to access the riverfront greenway.
To craft the bridge, engineers at Littlejohn Engineering Associates and general contractor Civil Constructors have poured concrete and steel columns, which support the cantilevered steel beams and pre-cast concrete panels. The design calls for decorative aluminum railings and lighting.
The switchback bridge, which carries a price tag of $270,000, runs approximately 250 feet in length and covers approximately 3,000 square feet.
“It will be a great draw for walkers and bikers,” Hawkins said. “I think it will be one of the highlights of Rolling Mill Hill, because it will show off the big bluff.”