How the new bridge stacks up to others

Louisiana bridge
The John James Audubon Bridge, under construction in south central Louisiana, is proposed to be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America.
Image courtesy of the Louisiana Dept. of Transportation

Each year Road and Bridges magazine singles out 10 bridges with outstanding design or construction features.

We selected four award winners from 2001-2007 to illustrate the effort involved in designing, engineering and constructing a massive structure that must functionally support, and culturally represent, the community in which it is built.

Each of these bridges is an important waterway crossing, and each faced special challenges to conform to public expectations -- whether to replicate history, emphasize safety or create a forward-looking signature landmark.


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Projected to be the longest cable stayed bridge in North America, and the only Mississippi River crossing between Natchez, Miss. and Baton Rouge, La.

  • Crosses the Mississippi River at St. Francisville, La.

  • Cost: $348 million

  • Owners: Louisiana Department of Transportation

  • Length: 1,583-foot main span

  • Construction type: Cable stayed

  • Start date: May, 2006

  • Completion date: June, 2010

  • Contractor: Flatiron Constructors Inc., Granite Construction


Tacoma Narrows bridge
The Tacoma Narrows bridge.
Photo courtesy of the Washington Dept. of Transportation

The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, nicknamed "Galloping Gertie," collapsed in 1940, four months after opening.

Although no lives were lost in the wind-induced collapse, the investigation of the structural failure led to advances in the study of aerodynamics and influenced the future of bridge design.

Contractors for the 2007 bridge were forced to work around underwater debris from the 1940 bridge, which cannot be removed because of its historical significance.

  • Crosses the Tacoma Narrows Strait in Washington State

  • Cost: $615 million

  • Owners: Washington State Department of Transportation

  • Length: 2,800-foot main span

  • Construction type: Suspension

  • Start date: October, 2002

  • Completion date: July, 2007

  • Contractor: Kiewit, Bechtel


Pennsylvania bridge
The Hickory Street bridge crossing the Allegheny River in downtown Warren, Penn., was built in 2005, to replace an old deteriorated structure. It was designed to be sensitive to the historic district nearby.
Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation

The design of this bridge replicated the look of the 1918 Hickory Street Bridge in historic Warren, Penn. Precast balustrade railings and architectural arch facade panels were reproduced from original drawings of the 1918 bridge.

  • Crosses the Allegheny River in Warren, Penn.

  • Cost: $11.4 million

  • Owner: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

  • Length: 516 ft.

  • Construction type: Prestressed concrete box beam

  • Start date: May, 2004

  • Completion date: August, 2005

  • Contractor: Mascaro Construction


Gateway in Nashville
The Gateway bridge in Nashville.
Creative Commons photo by Flickr user: justadrumer

Known as the "new front door" of Nashville, the design of the Gateway bridge is intended to create a signature landmark for the city.

  • Crosses the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tenn.

  • Cost: $29 million

  • Length: 571-foot main span

  • Construction type: fixed through-arch

  • Start date: February, 2001

  • Completion date: May, 2004

  • Contractor: HNTB Corporation