The Dublin Link is the longest single tower “S” shaped suspension bridge in the world
By Sophia Acevedo For decades, residents and local government in Dublin, Ohio have envisioned a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that could go across the Scioto River, providing easy connectivity among retail, restaurants, commercial, and residential buildings on both sides of the river.
In March 2020, the City of Dublin completed the Dublin Link, a 760-foot long pedestrian bridge, which has not only seen their vision come to life but it has created the longest single tower “S” shaped suspension bridge in the world.
“From the ‘S’ shaped bridge deck to the suspension design and state of the art lighting elements, this is truly a unique bridge,” Public Affairs Officer for the City of Dublin Lindsay Weisenauer says.
It was no easy feat to design, engineer or build, and we are proud to have worked with a team of global experts on this challenging but rewarding project that has become an instant and highly-recognizable landmark in the region.” –Public Affairs Officer for the City of Dublin Lindsay Weisenauer
Plans for a scenic riverfront park and suspension bridge were envisioned by the Dublin City Council as far back as 1986, but their first major work began in 2007, when the City Council adopted a Community Plan which included a pedestrian bridge that would connect the east and west sides of the Scioto River. The City Council went back and forth in discussion for a couple of years, until in February 2017 funding for the project came through the City of Dublin Capital Improvements Program (CIP).
T.Y. Lin International was hired as the engineer of the project, Endrestudio was the architect and Kokosing Construction Company, Inc served as the contractor. Furthermore, Michael Baker International worked as the project managers. Together this extensive team worked to create the innovative and complex bridge.
To truly achieve the unique “S” shaped design, essential materials like the cables couldn’t be found locally — they had to be shipped from country to country and overseas. The cables had to be fabricated in Italy since the country had one of three companies in the world that could make the kind of suspension cables needed to make the curve of the bridge.
Afterwards, the cables were sent to Germany, where they were extensively tested, and then sent to the U.S. For the project, a total of 43 cables were used, including one tie-down cable, two main suspension cables, two restrainer cables and 38 hanger cables.
Gathering the materials for the cable system took longer than anticipated. However, the Contract Manager General Contractor (CMGC) process eased some of the timing dilemmas. In a CMGC process, the project owner hires a contractor to provide feedback while the project is still in the design phase. Hence, Kokosing Construction Company was able to notify the City of Dublin and the team was able to communicate extensively with one another to ensure that these challenges were resolved. Due to their strong communication, the Dublin Link was completed on time.
According to Weisenauer, another challenge the team faced during construction was dealing with the complex pylon shape and cable arrangement using a single plane of hangers. The team helped address this by creating intricate 3D models of pylon and cables before the construction process began, which allowed them to have a high level of precision in order to achieve the more difficult parts of the project.
(Photos via City of Dublin)
“It was no easy feat to design, engineer or build, and we are proud to have worked with a team of global experts on this challenging but rewarding project that has become an instant and highly-recognizable landmark in the region,” says Weisenauer.
Energy efficient building was also incorporated into the design, as slag cement was used in all mixtures of the project to adhere to permeability requirements of the project while also lowering heat of hydration and even creating a visually appealing effect on the concrete.
“Slag cement has demonstrated long-term performance enhancements allowing designers to reduce the environmental footprint of concrete while ensuring improved performance and increased durability. It also has unique geometric qualities associated with all exposed concrete,” says Weisenauer.
The construction for the project ended up costing over $22 million, which was in line with the budget amount assigned.
Though the project was completed during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has received positive reception from the community.
“Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Dublin Link has served as a source of excitement and provides an enjoyable outdoor destination where people can get out of their homes and stay a safe distance from others,” says Weisenauer.
On top of that, the Dublin Link has also received a number of accolades for its construction and green design. It won the 2020 Outstanding Project Award, New Bridges and Transportation Structure by the National Council of Structure Engineers Association; the 2020 Best Bridge/Highway Project by Engineering News-Record Midwest; and the 2019 Project of the Year Award, Green Design by the SLAG Cement Association.
Though the Dublin Link is nearing a year of completion, other parts nearby are currently in construction as part of the Community Plan.
“We are in the middle of developing Riverside Crossing Park, which is located at the east and west landings of The Dublin Link. The park is on schedule to be completed in 2021 and will provide aesthetic, recreational and leisure benefits that will complement the Link,” says Weisenauer.
Sophia Acevedo is the assistant editor at American Infrastructure Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.