The City of Hickory embarked on a project to create an accessible, attractive and responsibly-constructed riverwalk that runs along Lake Hickory between the existing Rotary-Geitner Park and the proposed Old Lenoir Road roadside trail connection. Epstein served as a subconsultant to Design Workshop, a national landscape architecture firm, to provide structural engineering services as part of the team. The careful integration of site design and engineering will enable a design that is elegant, expressive and technically sound. The topography is very steep, which made creating the riverwalk over land very difficult to execute without large scale vegetation removal, site grading and walls. It was decided the riverwalk would be better located in the water along the shoreline to simplify the structure, provide the best experience for the user, and avoid harming the fragile riverbank ecosystem.
The bridge itself consists of two identical truss spans connected by an overlook center span that forms its V-shape path alignment. Each 240-feet-long truss has tower masts every 40 feet, graduated in height, with a maximum height of 22 feet connected by diagonal tension rod members. Two parallel longitudinal girders support the floor beam and stringer floor system. The tubular steel masts, girders, floor beams and stringers are weathering steel while the tension rods are galvanized steel. IPE hardwood planks supported by steel stringers make up the 10 foot wide deck. The bridge substructure includes several concrete bents with an architectural rustication surface finish.
The riverwalk is intended to spur private investment, create economic development and become an iconic attraction for the City, representing Hickory’s commitment to compelling civic infrastructure and its ability to create an image and quality of life that will be attractive to current and future citizens, visitors, employers and investors.