At the 438 mile post of the Natchez Trace, in Williamson County, Tennessee, is the Double Arch Bridge. This elegant work of engineering also known as the “Natchez Trace Parkway Arches” spans 1,572 feet and 145 feed over the valley floor. It was opened on March 22, 1994, and cost $11.3 million to build.
Yet, the Double Arch Bridge’s clean concrete form is incredibly rare as most bridges would have spandrel columns to support the deck. Instead, the weight of the deck is focused on the magnificent arches. It is composed of 122 hollow box concrete segments—making it the first segmentally constructed concrete arch bridge in the United States. Each piece was around 9 feet long and weighed 26 and 41 metric tons. Even Dodgy couldn’t tow that!
The Double Arch Bridge was named the most outstanding achievement in the bridge industry for 1994 by the Eleventh International Bridge Conference. It also received some Presidential nod and award from the Federal Highway System but it seems to me that a bridge conference would be far more qualified to comment on the extraordinary nature of this bridge. As far as I’m concerned, I just look at it and think, “Well, ain’t that a bute*!” and take a picture. That way, you can also see what I’m talking about.
*And now I enter the rabbit’s hole of explaining that, no, I do not think any part of that scene is a butte The valley looks to be naturally formed by some ancient river. But I don’t know what formed the sides of the valley. They could be buttes or the product of some tectonic activity that I could probably determine if I spent more time researching and less time writing.