Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge carries I-95 and the Capital Beltway across the Potomac River just south of Washington, DC. Growing traffic required the construction of a new 12 lane bridge with clearance for ocean-going ships. Because the bridge is part of the city's monumental core, the design was selected through an international design competition. The competition rules required a bridge with an arch-like appearance similar to Washington's other Potomac River Bridges.
The winning design is based on a V shaped pier with a tension tie at the top. This system creates the arch-like appearance but avoids the horizontal forces an arch would exert on the site's poor soils. The piers carry continuous haunched steel girders that continue the arched lines initiated by the piers. A 260' double bascule span over the channel is similar in appearance to the other spans. Mr. Gottemoeller was the architect for the winning design. He worked with the team's engineers to ensure long spans with a minimum number of piers so that the bridge is transparent and visually seamless. He also developed the sculpted forms of the V-piers.
The concept was enthusiastically endorsed by the competition jury and the Washington DC community. The bridge is now under construction with the northbound half open to traffic. Completion is expected in 2009. The contract price was $507 million.
"...the piers are indeed structural marvels rivaling the leaning columns of eero saarinen's dulles international airport."Benjamin Forgey, Former Architectural Critic for the Washington Post*
In April, 2008 the American Society of Civil Engineers presented its Opal Award to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge as the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement of 2008
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