The city of Jacksonville had been developing its trail system since the late 1980’s. In 1999 a master plan for the Jacksonville Urbanized Area identified a Rails-to-Trails project as a critical part of the plan.
HNTB North Carolina, P.C. was retained by the City to develop the bridge concept designs, provide structural design services, handle the permitting and design the 5.2- mile shared use path. HNTB studied three bridge concepts and presented them to the public for input and final design selection: a single span box truss, a double span truss and the design that was selected, the “Wave” Bridge.
“The idea of the wave design is to consider the speed of the trail user and respond with a bridge that visually appears to connect each side of NC-24 in a more unified gesture of approach,” said Paul Barber, Project Manager for HNTB.
A Continental® pedestrian truss bridge was selected for the project. The concept of a continuous wave is achieved by using a box truss bridge design where the upper arch on the center span, and the lower arches on the end spans are for appearance only and not structural. The City chose a weathering steel finish to complement the foliage on either side of the highway, reduce cost and help reduce maintenance concerns. Galvanized chain link fencing is installed on three sides for pedestrian safety. To give the appearance of lightness, the bridge is set on “V” shaped concrete structural piers, instead of tall abutment walls that could give a tunnel effect to the motorists passing underneath.