CTA Tram/Pedestrian Bridge over US 90


New bridge provides access over busy US 90 to Mississippi Aquarium

As a subconsultant to Eley Guild Hardy Architects, Neel-Schaffer provided bridge design services for the $18 million Coast Transit Authority (CTA) Tram Bridge over US 90 that connects the new Mississippi Aquarium to Jones Park in Gulfport.

The project connects Gulfport’s transit center, the Mississippi Aquarium, and Jones Park with a vehicular tram, pedestrian walkway, and bicycle path, shortening travel times and improving safety and access for visitors. The bridge opened to pedestrians on January 27, 2024, and is part of the general development of enhanced transit passenger facilities in downtown Gulfport.

In addition to the design, layout, and plan development for the 439-foot long steel box girder and prestressed concrete beam span bridge, the project included retaining walls, concrete slab span pedestrian ramps and lighting. The steel box girder spans are significantly curved with a radius of 172 feet and have both radial and skewed supports.

The web depth of the steel box girders was limited to 38 inches due to the existing grade constraints of the Mississippi Aquarium, Jones Park and US 90. The pedestrian ramp slab spans have alignments with multiple tangent and curved sections with radii from 26 to 350 feet. The bridge, pedestrian ramps and retaining walls are supported by auger cast-in-place piles and drilled shafts.

The design also considered structural aesthetics, the potential for coastal flooding, and the extensive network of existing underground utilities at this location. Neel-Schaffer also provided permitting services, including MDOT permits, a SWPPP, and the required MDEQ permits.

Roadway and civil site design elements included the design of storm water collection and management on the bridge and adjacent roadway approach and tie-in of drainage
to existing subsurface structures. Roadway and sidewalk design plans were developed to provide access to the bridge at the south abutment with Jones Park/20th Avenue and
paving/tie-in at the north abutment with the Mississippi Aquarium approach roadway ramp.

Neel-Schaffer engineering staff also participated in construction project status meetings, reviewed construction submittals such as shop drawings, handled various construction issue mitigation requests, as well as, provided stormwater compliance inspection and reporting during construction.

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