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Signature bridge is a testament to Volkswagen’s style

June 1, 2011
Big R's signature pedestrian bridge for VolkswagenEmployees at the Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, TN, will soon be arriving to work in style thanks to a new 640' x 15.5' pedestrian bridge, which will connect their training facility with their factory. Volkswagen officials feel the new bridge will be “functional and memorable”, while also acting as a symbolic connector for the community.

Big R Bridge teamed up with Gray Construction to build this design, which was inspired by students from nearby Auburn University. As part of a scholarship contest, Volkswagen challenged students from several universities to design the bridge, and Big R’s engineering and manufacturing teams worked with other project partners to complete the winning student concept. The box truss bridge is accented by giant screen panels, which truly make it a testament to Volkswagen’s style.

Our largest and most challenging project in our 40-year history

We set up a dedicated design and manufacturing team for the full project duration. Beyond the complex design, other factors that added to the challenge were:

  • Translating the student design into an efficient engineered solution
  • Completing complex structural engineering to handle the desired look
  • Fast-tracking the project with communication between four design teams
  • Managing an international client team over multiple languages and time zones
The project began in late January 2011, and was complete in four months. The bridge was shipped in 25 sections from our Greeley, CO plant – the section lengths varied, with some up to 70'. The box truss sections were assembled on site and then lifted into place in four assembled sections. Altogether, the installation took only seven weeks.

The design features a concrete deck and glass panels. The signature screen system was manufactured from aluminum and connects via self-tapping screws. A custom 3-coat/ 2-color Acrolon paint system and LED architectural lighting complete the picture.

From the outset we were able to efficiently solve any problems that arose and, with the project partners so pleased with our performance, we have opened the door to future projects of this magnitude or greater.

Plus, Volkswagen has received kudos for its efforts around the design competition and the bridge construction – a signature bridge, truly reflective of the automakers’ signature style.

Contractor: Gray Construction