Creating, preserving, and enhancing healthy landscapes is best served when bridge design and construction incorporates innovative solutions. As communities look to replace deficient or functionally obsolete bridges, there are innovative solutions being achieved today that are important resources to benefit the quality of air, water, and wildlife.
The social, economic, and environmental results of triple bottom line solutions remain important to sustainable outcomes and embracing a community’s sense of place. Environmental technologies from other applications are adapted for bridges, such as solar energy, air quality enhancing nanotechnologies, smart sensors, natural and low energy lighting, recycled materials that strengthen structural elements, and more.
In a series of case studies, we examine together sustainable, thoughtful approaches to replacing our aging bridges and to reducing the need to expand our highways. These built bridges demonstrate methods to reduce structural footprints, open up view sheds, build from the top, construct with less space and equipment, and draw communities closer to nature in new ways. Additionally, the technology is here to create a better, faster, stronger supply chain with an innovative solution that is safer, lower cost, and respects the environment in a whole new way. A way that not only protects the environment but goes steps further to improve air quality, preserve land, and give our existing highways more life without the need to expand – giving us more landscape and healthier outdoor space. While this may seem at first farfetched, the technology is ready now that will do all of this and more to enhance our urban corridors with more green space.
One case study is a new bridge in Vermont demonstrating what a “Bridge to Nature” achieves, designed featuring a special gallery to the natural habitat in an outdoor cathedral-like space, which draws greater appreciation for the beauty of the natural landscape, while creating a one-of-a-kind gateway to the remarkable green hills and pristine waterways in the state of Vermont.
Studies show that when people live near parks and green spaces, they live longer and healthier lives. It just makes sense that the bridges that we choose to build are born of a mission to enhance the natural environment for cleaner air and water with stronger natural habitats that help our ecosystems thrive.
Every bridge has a story. It begins with a vision. It is hoped that the stories shared in this presentation will help inspire better bridges for healthier landscapes.