bridge art

Broadway viaduct

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has selected Nashville-based Gresham Smith to design the future Broadway bridge downtown, with a summer 2024 completion eyed.

The Broadway viaduct project will replace a bridge that serves as one of the primary gateways into and out of downtown's core, funneling some 26,000 vehicles over five CSX railroad lines, 11th Avenue South and two greenways. It is positioned between the Nashville Yards development on the north and Union Station Hotel on the south. TDOT Structure Division Director Ted Kniazeqycs has referred to it as one of the busiest streets in Nashville.

Headquartered downtown on Second Avenue with an office in Franklin, Gresham Smith expects the project to be executed via the construction manager-general contractor delivery method with so-called "accelerated bridge construction” techniques implemented to expedite the process so as to obstruct traffic as little as possible. With the goal of completing the project within three years, this means a guaranteed maximum price for the project will not be negotiated until the project is more than halfway finished. Gresham Smith will subcontract third-party consultants for geotechnical services and surveying.

A request for proposals targeting prospective construction managers will be issued in September.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to deliver the design on this critical and complex piece of infrastructure development in the heart of Nashville,” said Andy Lucyshyn, professional traffic operations engineer and leader of Gresham Smith’s Middle Tennessee transportation projects division. “Our goal is to provide TDOT with cost-effective, innovative and time-saving solutions to accelerate construction and minimize impacts to the public.”

A pedestrian bridge has also been proposed as part of the development plan with an access point on the future Broadway viaduct, connecting it to a planned pocket park of irregular dimensions to lie beneath the bridge. Gresham Smith said its services will include bridge design, environmental compliance, lighting, permitting, roadway design, traffic analysis and utility coordination.

Gresham Smith led TDOT’s 2015 “Fast Fix 8” omnibus project, a $62 million series of Interstate 40 bridge rehabilitation projects that replaced four pairs of twin bridges seven months ahead of schedule using only 10 weekend road closures. This was partly accomplished by fabricating steel superstructure units offsite at what they call a makeshift "bridge farm” at an I-40 median and then transporting the units onsite to install during weekend closures, which earned the team the Grand Iris Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee. These are the accelerated bridge construction techniques the firm intends to use on the Broadway viaduct.

TDOT announced in March that Gresham Smith would conduct surveys for the Broadway bridge project. Construction is expected to begin in early 2023, and the projected service life of the future viaduct is at least 75 years, according to TDOT.

Urban placemaking experts, including those from the Nashville Civic Design Center, have been vocal on record about the inadequacies of not only the Broadway viaduct but also those of other downtown thoroughfares with railroad or interstate overpasses like Church Street, Demonbreun Street and Division Street. Past criticisms have decried the perils of their undersized guardrails and structural degradation due to advanced age.

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