Bridging the gap: A ‘showcase bridge’ comes to life in Madison
The rapidly growing Jackson suburb of Madison, Mississippi, had a problem, and Neel-Schaffer knew just how to fix it, by designing and helping build a $27 million bridge that is functional and aesthetically pleasing while serving as the centerpiece of transportation for this thriving community just north of the capital city.
State Route 463 is a heavily traveled thoroughfare located in Madison. As the primary exit from I-55, portions of the highway had already been improved to a four-lane section; however, in the heart of the city it was a two-lane roadway with an at-grade crossing of the CNN Railroad and an at-grade intersection with US Highway 51 and Hoy Road.
When the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) scheduled the design (and re-routing) of the highway through the downtown area, it selected Neel-Schaffer to provide bridge/roadway construction documents.
Early in the design process, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler began aesthetic design discussions with MDOT and Neel-Schaffer. The mayor wanted the bridge portion to conform to architectural schemes already present in the city. Neel-Schaffer facilitated the process to the end that an agreement was reached to focus on a strawberry motif, harking back to the past, when Madison billed itself as the Strawberry Capital of the World. Strawberry Patch Park is a seven-acre neighborhood park, located near the bridge/ roadway site.
The ends of the pile bents are embossed with a strawberry image. Additionally, the bridge’s sidewalks and raised median have a stamped brick pattern. Earth tone colors were used to produce an aesthetically pleasing structure.
“Our Madison Parkway bridge is a truly functional work of art that does a wonderful job of moving traffic quickly and smoothly through Madison,” said Hawkins-Butler. “The diligent work of Neel-Schaffer, in cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Transportation in crafting this bridge, made a longtime dream for Madison into a reality that will have a long-lasting economic benefit for the community.”
The bridge is a four-lane, divided median structure that is 1,285 feet long and now spans the CNN railroad line. Pedestrian walkways are located on both sides of the structure and the entire bridge is lighted with decorative light standards and fixtures.