US FOREST BRIDGE CASE STUDY

CONCEPT

This area not only offers some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the eastern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina but also provides the opportunity to view the beginning of a major river system in North Carolina. With increased numbers in visitors to the falls also came concern about safety and emergency rescue since the falls are accessible only by moderately difficult hiking along a trail that meanders back and forth across Chestnut Creek. As such the U.S. Forest Service decided that the Catawba Falls area should be made accessible to “miniaturized” rescue equipment and vehicles carrying small rescue teams in times of medical emergencies or lost hikers.

DESIGN

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The US Forest Department wanted a bridge that blended in well with the environment and that required the absolute least amount of maintenance throughout its life cycle.
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Bridge Brothers used a Corten weathering steel material that builds up a protected layer. This material is great for settings because it blends well with the natural environment. A Douglas Fir decking completes the design.
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Accommodating the weight in the design was the most critical contributing factor in allowing the contractor to be able to install the bridges without the use of heavy equipment.

ENGINEERING

Our engineers worked with the contractor onsite to accommodate his available equipment capabilities in designing the bridge to be built in multiple sections that could be bolted up onsite.

FABRICATION

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Bridge Brothers manufactured the 100’ bridge in four sections that were 25’ long. With these dimensions, the contractors were able to maneuver up the trail to the jobsite.

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The challenge with this project was how to get the bridge up and down a very narrow, winding two mile trail and installed in place over a creek.

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Because this bridge is a signature moment on the trail, all the detailing and manufacturing had to be well-done.

INSTALLATION

The Bridge Brothers contractor was able to install the bridge without the use of a
crane by bolting the splice connections held in place by temporary shoring towers.