Superior Construction to Complete First-of-its-Kind $72.6M Pedestrian Bridge for the City of Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Superior Construction, an American family-owned infrastructure contractor, was selected by the city of Charleston, South Carolina, to construct a bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting West Ashley and downtown Charleston. The Ashley River Pedestrian Bridge will be the first cable-stayed movable structure in the country. Its hydraulic swing span components will allow the bridge to open horizontally rather than vertically, improving marine clearance.
Funded by the City of Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, this design-build project will be divided into five segments spanning from West Ashley to the east end of the project limits at Lockwood Drive. A key feature of the proposed design is an iconic steel V-shaped pylon (see attached renderings), providing a bold architectural statement. Meanwhile, its outward-leaning stay cable plane will significantly reduce the risk of ice on the cables falling onto the pedestrian path.
Currently, commuters traveling on U.S. Highway 17 between West Ashley and Downtown Charleston must cross the Ashley River on two parallel bridges with narrow sidewalks. More than 63,000 cars cross these shared-use bridges daily. The high traffic volume resulted in more than 100 bike- and pedestrian-related crashes between 2014 and 2019 — necessitating comprehensive multi-modal transportation options.
To enhance the connectivity between Downtown Charleston and West Ashley, Superior and its design partner, Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc. (JMT), developed a preliminary design for the pedestrian bridge that will mirror the functionality of the existing adjacent highway bridge. Their decision to construct the west and east approaches as boardwalk structures will enable the team to avoid delays from relocating existing Dominion Energy power lines and accommodate future planned greenway beneath the pedestrian bridge.
“This project presents some unique challenges, including performing work near high-voltage underground power cables and meeting environmental requirements specific to native marshlands,” said Superior Construction’s Carolinas Division Manager, Richard Kirkman. “We’ve devised innovative technical concepts alongside our design partners to resolve each issue and fulfill the city’s need for safe, pedestrian-friendly transportation options.”
The team will construct the swing span bridge in the open position to minimize marine traffic impacts. The scope of work also includes new movable bridge operations with CCTV monitors, a touchscreen display, and discrete pushbuttons for the gates. Additionally, they will provide a trailhead with benches, water stations, and bike repair stations.
Construction is estimated to begin in April 2024, with expected completion in early 2027.
About Superior Construction
Superior Construction is an American family-owned and operated infrastructure contractor dedicated to providing innovative solutions with industry experts and leaders. First established in 1923 as the J Largura Company, the now fourth-generation family business evolved into Superior Construction by 1938. Throughout its history, the company’s foundation has always been building the infrastructure of America, successfully delivering projects across numerous delivery methods, with a specialty in design-build. Superior provides unique design solutions, forward-thinking technology, and a safe work environment to create the most value for clients, employees and the community. Learn more at superiorconstruction.com and follow Superior on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.