Travelers along U.S. Highway 321 in Hickory will be greeted by a new sight: an 80-ton, 182-foot-long pedestrian bridge with the word “Hickory” displayed on each side in white letters.
The new Aviation Walk Bridge over U.S Highway 321 was placed into position around 1 a.m. Sunday.
Workers with Dane Construction used two cranes to lift the bridge frame into position early Sunday. The highway closed overnight for the installation.
While the bridge frame is up, the concrete decking has not been put in place.
Workers check rigging supports of the new Aviation Walk bridge over U.S Highway 321 before moving the frame work into position early Sunday morning.
The bridge is critical link for the Aviation Walk, a new trail for pedestrians and cyclists that will span U.S. Highway 321 and run past L.P. Frans Stadium and the Hickory Regional Airport. It is part of the larger system of enhanced walkways in Hickory that also includes the City Walk and Riverwalk.
Workers watch as the new Aviation Walk bridge over U.S Highway 321 is moved into position Sunday morning with the help of a 500-ton crane.
Dane is a subcontractor for Neill Grading & Construction Co., which received a $20.8 million contract from the city to construct the Aviation Walk. The project is partly funded through a $17 million federal grant the city secured in 2018.
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The bridge alone costs $820,000.
The bridge is located at a major entry and exit point to the city along one of its most heavily-trafficked thoroughfares.
In interviews earlier this month, some members of the Hickory City Council weighed in on the significance of the structure.
Workers check alignment of the new Aviation Walk bridge over U.S Highway 321 as the frame settles into position early Sunday.
Councilwoman Jill Patton said the new bridge could help draw people to Hickory by serving as a point of interest. She said it could inspire people to explore the city in more depth.
Two cranes were used to move the new 80-ton Aviation Walk Bridge over U.S Highway 321 into position Sunday morning.
Councilman Tony Wood highlighted the advantages of creating a route for pedestrians and cyclists across the busy highway.
It is not clear when the decking will be installed and the bridge will be open to the public. The city is currently hoping have the Aviation Walk complete by October.
U.S Highway 321 was shut down around 9:30 p.m. Saturday as the new Aviation Walk bridge frame was moved into position early Sunday morning.
Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.
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